A Tales of the Mountain King Story
A Drunk Dwarf Inn Christmas
A Tales of the Mountain King Story
Published by Patrick Bowron
Distributed by Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Patrick Bowron
Shakespir Edition, License Notes:
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Cover artwork by Rebekah Crowmer
Map and editing by Sarah Bowron
Part 1: Christmas Eve-Eve
The snow fell heavily down on the small village of Autumn’s Rest. The village was the main hub of the ancient segregated land of Fogsdale, given the title long ago due to the constant rainfall and clinging mists. To the north and west were the insurmountable peaks of the curving chain of the Mountains of Hidden Stars, home to the Mountain King, Denk Dinglestuff. To the east were the thick Elven Woods, a mystical land now open to the inhabitants of Fogsdale. Also, there was the Gorge of Darkness and its almost completed bridge still cut off travel eastward. To the south lay both the Battle Hills and Dreadwood Forest home to monsters, or at least myths of monsters.
The land that lay within Fogsdale’s boundary was a flat plain, known simply as Open Field. There at its center of Open Field was the aforementioned Autumn’s Rest, with the Eastern Road stretching and connecting it to the farmlands of the small country. Other monuments and fortresses rested in semi-ruin throughout the land, a testament to older days when the country was connected to the larger world, but that was starting to change.
In the village of Autumn’s Rest much had changed in the past year since Denk had become the Mountain King. With his coronation, Denk had instantly begun furbishing the land with riches. Dwarves were sent to all corners of Fogsdale. They began work on the bridge that once overtook the Gorge of Darkness and began to pave the Eastern Road with brick. Autumn’s Rest was not overlooked. A small army’s worth of dwarves showed up to the sleepy village and at once began fixing roads, chimneys, roofs, and installed new street lanterns. The most famous of the town’s landmarks, the Drunk Dwarf Inn, stayed much the same with its shingled roof topped with three tall chimneys that were always billowing welcoming and pleasant smelling smoke.
It was early morning two days before Christmas, and no dwarves could be seen outside at work. Actually, the streets were nearly silent. The snow fell in big soft flakes, and the wind howled gently down the alleyways. The only movement at all seemed to be at the aforementioned, famous inn. Abe, who was the bouncer/repairman/supply carrier, stood on top a tall rickety ladder, which moaned and creaked as he shifted his weight. He was decorating the outside of the inn for the big holiday, made even larger by the fact that King Denk, the owner of the inn, was coming back to town for the celebration. Under the ladder, pacing in an agitated state was Mumbles, waiting for the inn to open.
An ornate carriage adorned in gold flaking and sapphire studding made its way down from slender paths of the Mountains of Hidden Stars. It was pulled by two-pair of majestic Clydesdale horses, which moved flawlessly down the paths flanked by ever-reaching peaks tipped in shining frost. The carriage left the kingdom of the mountains behind and came forth down a hidden way to a small stretch of land just east of the Little Hills. There it cut through bright white snow on its way down to the Eastern Road.
It went west now upon the road. The passengers within were delighted at seeing familiar country, whose nostalgia spoke like a comforting whisper to the life path they now journeyed. Open Field came in full view now, its grasslands and farms tucked in for the winter under the falling snow. Not far in the distance the village of Autumn’s Rest would show its face on the horizon. It was the central command of this story, most especially a building that resided within the town, the Drunk Dwarf…
“Can it, Narrator,” said King Denk Dinglestuff. “We are almost there.”
You know, you should show me more respect. I am your King’s Advisor. I could start poorly advising you. What would you do then?
“You won’t do that,” King Denk said to the roof of his carriage.
“I won’t do what, King Denk?” Anne asked.
She was the only other living being in the carriage. King Denk looked at her in confusion for a moment before he replied, “Oh, nothing Miss Arbor, I mean Mrs. Longtale,” King Denk said with a smile. “I keep forgetting you are a married woman now.”
“I just hope Brunof gets back before Christmas Day. I really don’t want to spend the holiday without him,” said Anne.
“Oh, I’m sure he will get back in time. He is just running a little errand for me. I instructed him to make his way to the inn right after he was finished,” said the King.
Anne smiled at the thought of her brave husband. Her thoughts were interrupted as the carriage began to slow down. Both the King and Anne stuck their heads out the windows of the carriage. They were amazed at what they saw.
They had reached the edge of town and saw that the sleepy village was no longer very sleepy. Townspeople lined both sides of the street, and they waved and professed happy greetings as the carriage rumbled down the newly cobbled road. Denk and Anne waved back and added their own salutations for the upcoming holiday. Both Denk and Anne grew in their excitement as they anticipated the reunion of the Motley Band as they pulled up in front of the Drunk Dwarf Inn.
Hey! There are three of us and I’m excited too.
As they stepped out of the carriage the people erupted in cheers. King Denk Dinglestuff was adorned in the artifacts of his quest to become the Mountain King. He wore the Angel Armor.
The armor did not fit to perfection, so some of his belly girth spilled out. In a loop on his belt he had the Hammer of Frost.
At least the hammer has frost on it again, but you never did cut off that price tag.
Around the King’s neck was the Moon Medallion.
That is such a piece of junk.
In the King’s hand was the Silver Shield
Old Bob’s wife is still probably wondering where that tray went.
In the King’s back pocket was tucked the Gold Ale Recipe.
Well, at least that is worth something.
Just then the wind blew and the Gold Ale Recipe was blown out of the King’s pocket. Denk bent over to retrieve it, exposing his bottom’s crack and as he stood back up he let loose a loud one.
Good Gods! You are King and still don’t have any manners!
Anne was almost lost in confusion. She watched the two dwarves that had driven the horses begin to unlatch their belongings from the back of the carriage and carry them inside the inn. A giant hairy paw soon grasped Anne’s hand. She turned around, startled, but soon she broke into a wide smile as she saw Grosh’s furry bugbear face looking down at her. His good buddy, Bruce was there too, and the pair was wearing matching pink and white striped shirts with silver bows on their shoulders.
“Grosh! Bruce!” She yelled excitedly as she threw her arms around them in a hug. “How have you been?”
“Oh cutie, things have been blowing up for us,” replied Grosh as Bruce nodded enthusiastically. “But, where is your man? We haven’t seen him since the wedding.”
“He actually went to visit the Elven King for King Denk. Denk had a valuable present he wanted to give him to honor their new friendship.”
“I thought Gilriddle was King Dinglestuff’s diplomat,” said Bruce while running one of his paws through his perfectly groomed fur.
“Oh, Gilriddle is still the King’s diplomat, but he is on tour right now, he is even playing here at the Drunk Dwarf Inn tomorrow night,” responded Anne.
“Ooh goodie,” said Grosh. The bugbear looked around at the thinning crowd. “Girl, if you don’t have anything to do at the moment you should come with me to the Hottie Emporium, they are carrying some of my new styles.”
“I would love to go. Is Bruce coming too?” she asked.
“No, he is going over to the Unicorn’s Bathhouse, and I’m going to meet him there later,” said Grosh. Then Grosh and Bruce said their goodbyes and Grosh and Anne made their way to the Hottie Emporium.
“I love them all so much,” Anne said after almost an hour of trying on outfits. “I don’t know which one to wear.”
“Well, how about that one over there, it has more of a holiday vibe to it,” said Grosh. “The others you can wear anytime of year.”
Anne went over and picked up the outfit that Grosh had indicated and held it up. “Do you think I should wear it tonight?” asked Anne.
“Absolutely girl,” was Grosh’s emphatic response.
Anne giggled in response.
As Grosh entered the Bathhouse he smiled. Bruce was talking to a group of strapping gentlemen still wearing their banana-hammocks. “Alright boys, remember tomorrow night is the big night we have been practicing for. Oh, and Jonathan you still haven’t been by to pick up your outfit. Don’t forget it, sweets.”
“Brucy, I’m so proud of you,” Grosh started as the Bathhouse boys made their way back to do whatever they were doing prior to Bruce’s pep talk. “You are going to be such a big part of this celebration.”
“I know, I can’t wait,” Bruce said while jumping up and down and waving his hands in quick motions side-to-side. “Did you get your girl all set up in an outfit?”
“Oh, you better believe it. That reminds me, we better go get ready and head over to the inn it will be hopping tonight, since the King is in town.”
The common room at the Drunk Dwarf Inn was packed that evening. Pipe smoke was full in the air along with the scents of food and ale. The din of conversation from the booths and tables was like a chorus of buzzing bees. Happiness and holiday cheer was prevalent throughout the establishment. At the back of the welcoming room was the bar and kitchens. There stood King Denk, dressed back into his old clothes pacing his famous six steps like nothing had ever changed. Tavern maids danced past Denk and through the maze of patrons bringing pitchers of ale and wine along with steaming food to the great gathered crowd. A bard at the stage played gentle Christmas songs on his guitar. Denk stopped his pacing and smiled at the wonderful scene.
It burns me to say this, but I’m proud of you.
Denk smiled up at the rafters lining the ceiling. He felt content. He felt at home. He knew he would leave in a few days and take back up the great responsibilities of his station, but those were concerns for another time. Tonight he had one concern on his mind.
Do you think he will come?
Denk nodded a smiled response.
While Denk was reveling in his contentment, Anne Longtale made her way down the stairs into the common room. All that she passed stopped and gawked at her. She had changed into the outfit she had purchased at the Hottie Emporium. She wore a Mrs. Claus outfit, except it probably was not meant for public wearing. It was low-cut, and matched with a very short skirt and stockings. She looked at the Christmas tree in the corner of the room as she entered and promptly decided that the star on top was crooked.
She pulled a ladder over to the tree and climbed up it. It was a tough reach and she had to bend at the waist to reach the star. The volume in the common room became noticeably hushed, with the bard strumming several wrong chords on his guitar. Anne thought she had the star straight, but became nervous that it was not. She turned ask the crowd’s opinion. Many of the men shouted out that it was still crooked while it was obvious it was perfectly straight now.
Denk took this moment to go to the front of the common room to make an announcement. To many of the patrons’ dismay, Anne climbed down off the ladder. Denk had not noticed the spectacle that had just transpired. He came forward and put his hand up for silence, to which the patrons obediently obliged.
“My friends thank you for being here with me this holiday season. So much has transpired over such a short time for me. For many, many years I was blessed to be the owner of this inn. It seemed to me to be my greatest accomplishment. But, then things changed rapidly. A misunderstanding set me on a quest, through which I met new friends and formed together the Motley Band. That was grand and exciting enough, but the quest brought me now to the position I hold. I am King Denk Dinglestuff of the Mountains of the Hidden Stars. I hope I have done well for all dwellers of Open Field.”
Cheers momentarily stopped Denk. The people genuinely loved and appreciated him. He was fair and honest. King Denk did not think about his own grand wishes as King, he made decisions that he believed would be beneficial to all.
“I do have a wish,” Denk continued when the cheering had died down. “A Christmas wish. I have thought long about this my entire life. I have longed to see Santa Claus come to our land. Our barriers have kept him away, but this year, with all our changes, I believe he will come. I know he will come!”
The crowd erupted. They had not expected this. They had all grown up on tales of Santa Claus, but never thought they would ever get to see him. They knew if Denk said it would happen, and then it would. That was the way things were now in Fogsdale. It was a land of hope. The excitement lasted way into the deep hours of the night.
Part 2: Christmas Eve
The day moved swiftly into night. The daylight hours had been spent by most of the villagers making last minute purchases at places like Braun’s Forge, Dake’s Specialty Shop, and for the more risqué shopper, Hottie Emporium. The light was gone now and the words on everyone’s lips were, “Santa Claus.” The whole of Autumn’s Rest had been swept up by the news like a crashing wave. The Drunk Dwarf Inn was packed. That evening was billed as a special event that had sold out a month prior. Gilriddle Feetwiddleinlactointolerantfart was even scheduled to make an appearance as part of his comedy tour.
The raucous noise in the tavern was like a crescendo. Denk went smiling about the common room talking to and seeing many friends and familiar faces. There was Old Bob and his scowling wife. A skinny bucktoothed blonde girl winked slyly at the fat man from across the inn. Denk spent a few minutes having cheerful words with Jimmy Jimbo Jimerson. The King waved at the Traveling Circus, but took a long walk around their table to avoid Sweetie Pie. There was Jeb, dressed now in fine clothing with Buddy resting peacefully at his feet. And in the corner, by the bulletin board were Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, and Druid. They were now known as the Adventuring Heroes, and were Level 8.
Denk clapped shoulders, and shook hands. He wished everyone he came across an empathic ‘Merry Christmas!’ A commotion soon went up and Denk looked towards the front of the common room, where the main stage had been constructed. It appeared Gilriddle, the Gnomish Bard was now making his appearance.
Gilriddle wore a red Santa cap and slender red tie. He had overalls on that were dirty and green. He wore no shirt. He laughed and waved at the madness that erupted before him. He took a deep bow and flashed a truly heartfelt smile.
“My friends, both old and new, welcome. As for the rest…”
“Merry Christmas!” Roared the crowd alongside Gilriddle. He had changed his legendary introduction to match the festivity of the time of year. He smiled as he presented a small mandolin He strummed it a few times and announced, “This one is called, Christmas with the Creeps!”
The approval was overwhelming.
Christmas with the Creeps
I’m going down to the bar
Because that’s were they all are
Sitting, drinking, smoking
Living, gawking, joking
Lying about success on the bulletin board
Spending much more than they can afford
Walks of every type of life
Tired of playing bingo with the wife
Given up with trying
Because soon they will be a-dying
Lost in every which way
But, put together on Xmas day
Thunderous drunken applause exploded as the last note of the mandolin dissipated into the night. Gilriddle took a bow and accepted a drink that was brought over to him. He took a deep draught from it and had his upper lip left covered in foam. The cheers echoed on even as he exited the stage.
Denk had returned to his famous six step spot and was now pacing even though he clapped for Gilriddle. Doubt was starting to slowly creep into his mind. He had promised that Santa Claus would appear in a few hours, but he had no evidence that it would happen. Why had he decided to speak about Santa on the previous night? He was the Mountain King, but he had no power over a legendary figure like Santa Claus. He concluded that he had finally lost his mind.
What do you mean, finally?
“Narrator, you are my advisor. What am I to do?”
One of the dwarfs that drove the King’s Carriage walked by just at that moment and gave his King a strange and inquiring look.
Well, you set up surveillance, have you checked The Radar?
“That’s a good idea Narrator,’ Denk said. The King saw Abe, who was the bouncer/repairman/supply carrier drinking some hot cocoa nearby and asked him about The Radar.
“Well, The Radar is up on the roof,” said Abe, who was the bouncer/repairman/supply carrier. “He says he hasn’t seen anything that would indicate that Santa Claus is close by. And, King Denk, between you and me I don’t get why Radar wants all of us to say ‘The’ before his name. I mean his job here is taking out the garbage.”
Denk nodded, while not really listening to the spiel about Radar. “Well, just keep me informed,” said the King. It was about that time that Denk decided to go outside and get some air.
The air outside was equivalent to the breath of an ice dragon. It was freezing air circulating thick snow mixed with sleet. Denk could hardly see a few feet in front of him. Looking up into the sky made his heart sink. There was no way Santa Claus could fly through that. It would be impossible. Denk was trying to wrap his thoughts around the explanation he would give his beloved town in the morning when jolly ol’ St. Nick failed to make his arrival.
It was then that Denk heard a strange noise. The old dwarf tried desperately to peer down the street from whence came the faint sound of scraping cobbles and jingling bells. Hope surged into the King’s breast. He became so excited that he felt he would burst, and then…he did.
Thankfully no one was around to hear or smell that one.
“Can it, Narrator,” whispered Denk as he continued to look down the street through swirling winter weather. There was a noise and something was approaching. There were several animals pulling a sleigh. It was Santa. Santa had resorted to traveling across the ground, because the weather was too damaging to fly. He was coming closer and would soon be in sight. Denk’s smile grew and encompassed his entire face. Santa had come! Santa was here and just about to be revealed. He was almost to the exposure of one of the new street lamps that Denk’s dwarves had put in. Here he was! The light was now washing over him. It was…Brunof?
What the hell?
“Hail, King Denk!” Brunof said cheerily.
Denk could see that Brunof was riding with a pair of elves from the Elven Woods.
“I must admit,” Brunof continued, “I didn’t expect to find your highness out here in the cold, shivering.”
“I thought you were Santa Claus,” Denk replied sheepishly.
Brunof laughed loud at this and even the elves chuckled. “I’m surely not Santa Claus, but I do have a sled full of presents from the Elven King.”
Denk, listen to me carefully, I’m going to put an idea in your head.
Denk regained his smile and said, “Brunof you stay near, but get out of sight. I need to go find Grosh.”
Part 3: Christmas
Bells and chimes rang out through Autumn’s Rest signaling midnight and Christmas morning. A cry went up as well. There were voices bursting out from the streets, “Santa has come! Santa has come!”
Lights began to be lit in windows of all the homes. Soon warmly dressed men, women, and children filed out into the cold morning to see what was really going on. The patrons of the Drunk Dwarf Inn were the last to be roused, even though all the activity was happening outside its very door. It had been simply too loud in the inn to hear the cries of Santa coming.
Soon, the square before the Drunk Dwarf Inn was filled by all the townspeople. Before the people was a sleigh that was pulled by reindeer. The sleigh was heaped with presents, and at the helm of the train sat Santa Claus. He laughed and waved to the children and adults alike. All were filled with wonderment and cheer.
Presents of all kinds were distributed to the gathered masses. There was enough for all. Grosh smiled up at Denk playing the role of Santa. The bugbear had listened to the King’s plan and then quickly outfitted him with a Santa costume.
Bruce was approaching now, with his friends from the Bathhouse. They were all dressed neatly in matching red and green. Santa waved to them giving them the signal to start. On cue they launched into Christmas Carols, which they had been practicing for weeks.
The gathered villagers soon joined in on the songs. There, in the bitter cold, the people found warmth through song, each other, and the magic of Christmas. Plus, the Drunk Dwarf Inn was bringing out as much hot coffee and cocoa they could muster up.
Soon, the people forgot about Santa, taking comfort with friends and loved ones. Santa slunk away and removed his costume. And then the Motley Band found each other. Denk/Narrator, Grosh, and Brunof all embraced. Anne was emerging from the inn, and she still wore her Mrs. Claus outfit. She saw Brunof and ran over towards him, while he stared dumbly at her. She smiled at him and said, “I have a gift for you husband.”
“What is it?” he asked.
From behind her back she revealed mistletoe. She held it over her head and said, “Merry Christmas.”
Merry Christmas from the Motley Band
We will return…sometime
About the Author
Patrick lives in Brownsburg, Indiana with his wife, Sarah, and is a stay-at-home Dad to their daughter Irene, Buddy the dog, and Bunsy the rabbit. Before this he had an array of time-passing vocations, including high school history teacher, banker, laser engineer, hearing aid technician, car wash supervisor, and library assistant. Pat received his Bachelor’s degree in History from IUPUI in Indianapolis. His hobbies include living and breathing Notre Dame Football, Star Wars, reading Tolkien and other fantasy authors, researching ancient astronaut theories, and the Indianapolis 500. He enjoys spending his time outdoors with his family, including grilling, hiking, kayaking, and captaining his father-in-law’s pontoon boat.
Other books by this author available now:
Book One of the Chronicles of the Ball of Light – The Story of Faded Stars
Tales of the Mountain King
Book Two of the Chronicles of the Ball of Light – Upon the Bridge of Falling Frost
Book Three of the Chronicles of the Ball of Light – Laevindal
Prelude to the Chronicles of the Ball of Light – The Box of Stories and White Summer
Tales of the Mountain King vol. 3
Find updates at Boltrilogy.wordpress.com
Print copies of all books can be purchased on Amazon.com
The Motley Band has returned in this short holiday adventure. Denk is the Mountain King, but has plans to visit the Drunk Dwarf Inn for Christmas. Return to Fogsdale, with all of its humor, fun, and rollicking good times! All of the old gang will be there with special appearances from the extras who you all know and love. The big question on everyone's mind is will Santa Claus finally make a trip to Autumn's Rest?