“Are you sure we can trust him?” asked the dwarf called Wyatt.

“Yes, I walked with him to meet you,” replied the dwarf called Yan. “We traveled a dangerous route, and what is in his pocket drove many creatures away.”

“Yes, but the path to the Sword of Light is the most treacherous in the world.”

“You speak the truth, but we must press on. We must have the sword or our kind will forever hide underground, and our children will never dwell in the light.”

They both watched ahead, where the the dwarf called Gard boldly entered the forest.

Wyatt stopped Yan. “Why does he not show us what he has?”

Yan raised a finger and spoke pedantically. “The wizard who gave it to him has not even laid eyes on it. It endangers all who stare at it, except for the wielder. Now, let’s not get far from him. The forest is too dangerous without his protection.”

They followed Gard into the woods. Within minutes, growls came from their side, and there was rustling in the trees.

“Avert your eyes!” shouted Gard back to them.

They did.

The growling and rustling continued, until it sounded as if an attack was imminent. Then there was the yelping of large dogs, followed by the sounds of retreat.

“You may look now,” said Gard.

They did. Gard, who had never been admired and had been mocked when he set out on a quest to find magic to save the dwarves, turned resolutely and moved swiftly. They followed.

More creatures attacked in the forest, and they too were repelled. Each time, Wyatt and Yan waited with their eyes closed.

Then they were onto a lake, where they found a floating log. They found sticks, and Wyatt and Yan paddled as Gard sat still at the log’s front.

A creature showed itself. Its scaly body moved in curls in and out of the water.

“Avert your eyes!” commanded Gard. “I will deal with the giant snake!”

They obeyed. Seconds later, the creature screamed as if in pain or great fear. They were left bobbing, gripping to the log in the creature’s wake.

“Open your eyes,” said Gard, and they did.

There were more vile monsters to be driven away in the lake, then they were onto Stone Mountain.

“I am afraid,” said Wyatt. “There is only one type of entity that lives here, and the only thing it fears is a certain dragon, and I’m sure Gard doesn’t have that in his pocket.”

“But he has been true to this point, and we must have the sword.”

They moved upward, and then the part of the mountain they were on shook. They hung on, and when the rumbling ceased, a massive creature glared down at them.

Gard didn’t have to tell them to close their eyes this time. It was a natural reaction to a stone monster’s attack.

The stone monster’s guttural sound may have been the most frightened they’d heard yet. When the scream was gone and the surface of the mountain no longer shook, they were left with the sound of Gard’s gloating.

“Run, you coward! Run and tell all your friends that dwarves will soon rule the world!”

They reached the peak of the mountain and started down the other side. What was next was a level field of grass. Across the field stood the tower that contained the sword.

“According to legend, there is only one beast left,” said Yan.

“Yes, the one even stone monsters fear.”

“They say it has diamond claws and diamond teeth to cut through the stone.”

“Yes. I’ve heard the legends. They say it even . . .”

Wyatt stopped. It all made sense now.

“Where did you get them!” he shouted at Gard. “Who was the wizard?”
Gard stopped. He looked back at them with a bold expression. “His name was Likehearst.”

“Likehearst! You fool! He’s an enemy of dwarves.”

“He told me he has changed his ways. And hasn’t that been proven? Have I not thwarted all attacks?”

Wyatt laughed, but he wasn’t overjoyed. “Tell me, are they diamonds? Are they oval shaped? If you look closely at them, can you see a tiny speck in their center?”

Just then, Gard turned from them. He brought something from his pocket, inspected it for a few seconds then returned it to the keeping place.

“How did you know?”

Just then, there was a mighty roar, and a beast came from the tower.

Wyatt laughed once more and said, “The dragon lays diamond eggs. No creature would dare risk harming them, and no wise creature would be caught with them in his possession.”

Gard actually turned and showed them to the beast. It didn’t turn back.
"Inside Gard's Pocket"
Copyright: © 2009 Joshua Scribner
Joshua Scribner is the author of the forthcoming Mantis series, as well as the novels The Coma Lights and Nescata. He's published over 100 pieces of short fiction. Up to date information of his work can be found at joshuascribner.com

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