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An Intruding Shadow

Hello, fellow explorers. Sorry for the long wait but don't worry, the story continues! Welcome back to the Black Caves of the Mirror Mountain.

The dwarfs came running when they hear the sound of the giant's horns. The bellowing tone echoed through the tunnels. For centuries the dwarfs haven't heard those sounds. They ran swiftly to the Giants' aid. What could have caused such an alarm?

A small company of elite dwarves arrives at the entrance of the Black Forge caves. The Giants greet them and explain the situation.

"No one has been able to get into the caves. Not for ages. No one has been able to go past us. Not until today. We have picked up an unfamiliar scent. Who owns it? We don't know."

The dwarfs call their best tracker. He is a robust, broad-shouldered, elderly dwarf named Gamling. He arrives at the entrance to the caves, and without a word, he pulls out his pendant. He slowly blows on it.

A mist of glowing dust, like tiny fireflies, flows out from the pendant into the tunnels. The mist spreads. It embraces the walls, ceiling, and floor. Stillness covers the area. All that you can feel is the rumbling from the gigantic forges in the industrial halls of the Mirror Mountain. Suddenly an explosion of blue light and gusts of wind fills up the cavern. The dwarfs and giants turn away. They cover their eyes from the blinding magic. The wind catches the scruffled beards of the dwarfs. The light slowly dims. As it fades, the magic reveals the glowing silhouette of a footprint.

Gamling walks with heavy steps over to the new glooming tracks. Settled, now exposed to the naked eye. He glances down upon them.

With a slight raise of his bristled eyebrows, he delivers a sharp, high whistle. The signal fades through the halls. In the distance, a new noise like glass pieces creaking against each other approaches the cave entrance. An underlying deep rumble like thunder completes the sound.

The rumble comes closer and closer. The dwarfs behind Gamling steps back a bit. Around the corner appears a dog-like creature. It's covered in crystals. The dog stops in front of Gamling.

"Gloomy," he whispers.

From ancient times Gloomy was formed as one of the creatures from the mountain. He doesn't need totems. He was born from magic minerals. This makes him capable of feeling and seeing what has passed through these halls. He is called a Mirror Hound.

Gloomy walks over towards the footprint. As he breathes in the scent, the crystals on this back start to glow.

"He will help us find this intruder."

"Gloomy Go!" called Gamling.

Gloomy bolts. The company of dwarfs and giants follow the mirror hound. They move deeper and deeper into the mountain. The mirror hound stops. They hear him growling.

Gamling moves to Gloomy. He notices a shadow standing before them. A hooded figure. It shifts its cloak to unveils multiple totems, pendants, and medallions, all glowing in different colors.

"That's impossible, " Gamling whispers.

One of the giants runs forward to attack the stranger. He swings his hammer. It stops mid-air. The giant is frozen.

"The stranger is using all the pendants' power," Gamling mumbles.

His eyes widen. The color drains from the giant, changing his body completely grey. It turns towards Gamling. The colorless giant's dead eyes peer down. It swings its hammer at him. Gamling jumps to the side. He barely misses the strike.

The company also tries to dodge the attack. One dwarf doesn't move fast enough. The gray giant hits him and splashes him like a fly against the wall. The other giant is confused. His friend has killed one of the dwarfs. After seeing the remains, he doesn't hesitate anymore.

He strikes, the colorless giants parries. He strikes again and hits him straight in his face. The grey giant stumbles, shakes, and turns back to fight. Another blow hits him in the back of his head. He falls. The grey giant's skull is crushed against the floor.

The dwarfs are speechless. One dwarf breaks the silence, "...What happened"? Gamling is in shock.

"The giant was corrupted."

"Where's the stranger?"

He is gone.

Alright, fellow explorers. That's where we end today's post. Follow along to see what will happen in the next part of this story.

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