Tharmit the Marmot
A Dark, Humorous, Urban Fantasy Story
Tharmit the marmot beared no resemblance to a marmot. The stocky dwarf walked into the gas station, shoving a frail human to the side. His bulky armor clanged through the aisle. Passing an end cap full of chips, the battle-axe hanging at his side caught the edges, tearing the bags open and spilling fried potatoes onto the floor.
As always, Tharmit made his way to one thing, the fuel of his life. He swung the door to the soda cooler open, almost breaking the glass when it slammed into the next. Reaching in, Tharmit found the new mountain dew meant to quench his thirst, a thirst built from slaying goblins with his blood-stained axe.
Tharmit made a point not to clean the axe — ever. Layers of blood dried to the blade with each swing against another dreadful goblin. Blood flaked into the air as the swings tired Tharmit’s arms, but never his mind. He bathed in the enjoyment of exterminating goblins, to his party’s chagrin.
When they went on a quest which they often did, the party left Tharmit in charge to barge into rooms, crash around corners, and smash his way through the darkness. He led the party to victory — the victory of goblin extermination.
No matter what task the goblin undertook, if Tharmit caught them, they caught an axe to the head. Carrying a sack of rice? Axe to the head. Sitting in the corner reading the latest gossip from Minotaur Magazine? Axe to the head. Shuddering in a corner, protecting your children, and hoping you’ll live through Tharmit’s massacre. Tharmit hesitates, then cleaves the family with one swing.
Tharmit hated goblins.
He squeezed the can of mountain dew, a new flavor added to the shelves. The top exploded open. Carbonated liquid shot into the air like a volcano. Tharmit opened his mouth wide, catching the dew in his wide maw while it soaked his braided, red hair and thick, scraggly beard.
When he finished, he crushed the can against his head. “Ahhh, tastes like real troll’s blood!” He tossed the can to the side. Filling his arms with the remaining cans, he walked to the front doors.
A cashier yelled, “Are you going to pay for that?”
Tharmit turned. He put one hand on the handle of the blood-stained battle-axe strapped to his back and growled viciously. The cashier put his hands up in surrender, stepping back to safety.
In the parking lot, Tharmit met his party; an elf ranger, an elf saurian shaman, a half-orc barbarian, and a human wizard. They stood beside a van painted with dragons, volcanoes, and wizards, the words “Metal Warriors” stretching across the sky near the roof.
Tharmit hopped in the open doors of the van. It shifted with his weight.
The wizard asked, “Are you finally ready?”
Tharmit popped open another troll’s blood mountain dew, grunted, and drank.
Shifting the vehicle into gear, the wizard exclaimed, “We have a frost giant to kill. Let’s ride!”
Focusing on his sugary drink, Tharmit ignored the excited shouts of encouragement from the members of his party. When they arrived at the villager’s home after driving deep into the forest down abandoned roads, the party exited the vehicle and geared up.
Tharmit slung a blunderbuss over his shoulder. The short, large caliber barrel flared at the end. He filled the pouches on his belt with black powder and ammunition, leaving room for his mountain dew.
The party headed towards the home when they heard the crash of the frost giant. A blue-skinned giant stood larger than the building. Polar bear skins covered its chest. Frost giant heads hung from its belt, the prizes collected from killing its enemies.
Lifting a foot into the air, the giant smashed through the home, heading towards the party. The elf ranger, human wizard, half-orc barbarian, and elf saurian shaman prepared themselves. The shaman summoned an allosaurus taller than the giant.
Confident the dinosaur would keep the giant at bay, the party created a perimeter around the home to fight from all angles — except for Tharmit.
Tharmit slunk into the woods, sneaking around the bushes with his blunderbuss in hand.
When the frost giant snapped the allosaurus in half, pulling the neck from its abdomen and drinking from rivers of blood, Tharmit fired his gun. The ammunition failed to light. Pulling back the steel hammer, he fired again. Not sure what happened, Tharmit removed the black powder from the gun. He fiddled with his pouches looking for fresh powder, only finding cans of troll blood mountain dew.
When he found the powder, he opened the pouch. The pouch smelled of acrid gun powder — and troll’s blood. Confused, Tharmit stuck his finger into the powder, lifted it to his lips and tasted the grains.
Sure enough, troll’s blood mountain dew found its way into the pouch. Tharmit thought for a few moments, ignoring the screams of dying elves and the war-cry of an enraged half-orc barbarian. He wondered how the pouch and dew mixed. What did he do wrong? Looking down at the edges of his beard, he found remains of the volcanic soda from earlier, the liquid still fresh, soaked into the thick beard and dripping towards his belt, towards the pouch with the gunpowder.
A loud crunch announced the end of a fight as a shout full of pain faded in the distance.
Tharmit tore the wet pouch from his belt. He muttered, “Useless,” and threw the pouch into the bushes. Kicking the hopeless blunderbuss to the side, he reached for the axe on his back. When the blades came into view with a fresh layer of goblin’s blood having dried to their edges, Tharmit basked in the enjoyment of his accomplishment.
A bright explosion blinded Tharmit’s eyes, the wizard’s voice screeching in pain moments later.
Brandishing the battle-axe, Tharmit slowly stepped onto the battlefield. The frost giant held the elf shaman in its hands while the shaman struggled to escape.
Hunched over a tree stump, the elf ranger lay dead. The wizard’s body swung in the branches of a tree. Blood stains on the home’s shattered remains, the half-orc’s body looked as though it met a meat grinder. Only the shaman remained.
Watching the frost giant turn to leave, Tharmit slunk back into the woods and shrugged. He smiled as he thought, “Time to fight some goblins. And this time, this time, I get to keep their heads.” He pumped his fist in the air with excitement, thinking about the end of The Breakfast Club, a delightful film and Tharmit’s favorite.
He pulled a can of troll’s blood dew from his pouch, squeezed the metal, popping the top open, and basked in the explosion of sweet soda running down his face.
For a break from your party, drink troll’s blood mountain dew, made from real trolls… and mountain dew.
Will writes the action-packed urban fantasy series The Fae Awakening. He writes about depression, anxiety, and the writing life. You can find him active with the writing community on Twitter and the artist community on Instagram. You can support his work on Patreon.