Friday, August 26, 2016

Gimcrack’s Cup

dragon-sintel.png
Dragon In Cave from Sintel CC-BY
© copyright Blender Foundation | www.sintel.org
colorized by Gimp GPL

Gimcrack’s Cup
by Larry Heyl
CC BY-SA

There it was, spread out in front of me. The dragon’s horde. So beautiful, all the gold and jewels. It would be perfect if it wasn’t for the giant red sprawled across the treasure snoring.

Focus, I told myself. Where’s the cup? The dwarves were paying me for one thing and one thing only, Gimcrack’s Cup, their holy chalice, and of course it was made of gold so of course the dragon stole it.

I knew from experience that I could spend through any treasure I could steal and I made my share of enemies learning this. The dwarves were offering an annuity and safe harbor. I had to get that cup.

I crept slowly, keeping in the shadows around the edge of the cave. How can I see one cup piled amongst all that gold? Sharp eyes, I thought. Stay focused. Move slowly.

When I got to the far side of the cave I was looking right up the sleeping dragons nostrils. One puff and I’d be toast. But there it was. About half way up the mound. Shining with it’s own light and cracked right down one side. If you poured ale into Gimcrack’s Cup it should leak right out but instead it stayed everful as long as you were drinking from it. No wonder the dwarves worshipped it.

But how do I get it from the dragon? I’ll draw my magic sword and cut his head off. But I’m no warrior and I have no magic sword. I’ll cast an illusion and distract him. But I’m no illusionist and I know no spells. I know! I’m a thief. I’ll creep up there and steal it from under his nose. But that might lead to a fiery death. I stood paralyzed looking right at the dragon, scared shitless.

He opened one eye. “Human, how good to see you. Just in time for breakfast. Not much of a bite but so tasty, roasted”.

“Wait!” I cried. “Don’t kill me. The dwarves sent me.”

“Dwarves” shouted the dragon. “Even less of a morsel and kind of tough. I’d rather eat you.”

Impending death and the thought of dwarves gave me an inspiration. “I tell you what. Before breakfast how about a little drinking competition? Since dwarves sent me we’ll have a quaffing contest. We can each quaff a cup of ale and then another. I’m sure I can outdrink you.”

“Ho, ho, ho.” laughed the dragon. “Puny human you will never outdrink a giant red. All that alcohol will only tenderize you. So I say yes! A quaffing contest.”

I reached down at me feet and grabbed a bejeweled chalice. “I’ll drink from this.” Walking boldly through the treasure toward the dragon I scooped up Gimcrack’s Cup. “And you’ll drink from this.” I handed him the cup.

“Ho ho ho.” laughed the dragon. “You’re going to get me drunk with a cracked cup?” He dragged up a barrel of lager and topped of my chalice the ale running down the sides and soaking my sleeve. “You first human.”

I looked him in the eye and said, “This is how you quaff. Turn it up and don’t turn it down until it’s empty.” I turned up the chalice and went glug, glug, glug swallowing most of it but letting some run down my beard for good form.

The dragon was ready. He topped off Gimcrack’s Cup not even noticing that the ale didn’t even leak. He turned it up and started pouring it down his throat. It kept pouring and pouring the fine strong ale. Some of it started running down his muzzle but he wouldn’t give up. He drank and he drank until he fell over sideways. When he stopped drinking Gimcrack’s Cup emptied onto his face.

The giant red was so out of it that he wasn’t even snoring. I carefully pried the cup from his talons. I threw it and the chalice into my pack. On the way out I added a few choice items.

Even with an annuity I’m going to need a little bit of spending money.