The Corrupted Core (The Dungeon of Stories Book 1) by John Stovall

The Corrupted Core (The Dungeon of Stories Book 1) by John Stovall

Author:John Stovall [Stovall, John]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Capital Station Books
Published: 2021-06-09T22:00:00+00:00

Maholda was a bigger town than any Gar had seen. Despite being a prince, this was the farthest he had traveled, and he was deeply impressed with what the humans had built.

Gar knew the basic history of Maholda. The city had been built along the banks of the Cavel River, at the Queen Falls. It had been built up as a collection of small portage businesses—groups designed to move goods off of boats at the base of the falls and back onto boats at the top of the falls. It was also the closest River City to Cross Pass and the Kingdom of Eladrin, and at one time to the Kingdom of Daruk and Steelhold.

Maholda had a cosmopolitan flavor. Mostly human, it nonetheless had vibrant communities of displaced Darukan refugees, Eladrin elves, and a few others. Gar spotted some statues with clear dwarven style, next to shaped trees made by elven hands, and the numerous fancy buildings the humans preferred.

Maholda was also one of the founding cities of the River Cities Republic, created when numerous cities on the three great rivers of the Talosa Plains had decided to unify into one nation.

Gar and Shaiel walked from the caravansary toward the neighborhood known as “Little Daruk.” One of the guards had told them in heavily-accented Darukan that they could find Ogrun Rockhead there.

The city itself was a constant assault upon the senses. Courtesans dressed in gaudy finery, scents from the various food stands, the constant thud of barrels being loaded and unloaded.

Gar had heard that fifty thousand people called Maholda their home and he wasn’t surprised. This place was a world unto itself. And the garbage they had seen swirling in the river proved it.

It was a world that also didn’t speak his language, mostly. The guard’s directions had been insufficient.

“Why didn’t we bring Laurel?” Shaiel asked again.

Riverine was the language here, not the Darukan that Gar and Shaiel spoke, or the Eladranese of Shaiel’s homeland.

“I just assumed people would speak Darukan.” Gar shrugged. “It makes sense—a lot of this place used to pay tribute, and they certainly traded a bunch. We were the local trade koine.”

Shaiel shook her head. “You’re thinking like a dwarf, not a human. Slightly less than a generation has passed for you, and even less for my people, but humans have gone through two and a half. They adapt quickly.”

“Apparently,” Gar said with a chuckle. “Wait, then what we need is an old person, maybe a merchant or something.”

Gar turned his attention to the populace. He spotted an old man running a meat-stick stand. Grilled beef on skewers were alluring, and a few humans purchased a half a dozen before heading off.

Gar walked over and tapped his finger on the stall counter. “My good man, do you perchance speak Darukan?”

The man gave a toothless smile. “Yes, do,” he said in Darukan so accented, it was almost gibberish. “Be long time since I hear Darukan. Long time. What you want?”

Gar smiled in relief. “Do you perchance know where Little Daruk is?”

“Do,” he said.


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