Lego pondered his situation. It’s not like he hadn’t been in tough spots before. There was the time with the wizard who disagreed about who owned a certain spellbook that Lego swore he had found on his own fair and square. And there was the time that he was hiding inside of a vase in the dragon’s den while it tore the place apart looking for him. Or, most dangerously of all, there was the time that he had eaten a piece of questionable venison and wound up on the commode for several days. Those were all harrowing adventures that put his little halfling life in great peril. But here he was today in a bind that was probably up there with the rest of them. Lego was treading water in the bottom of a very deep well in the middle of nowhere.
It was cold and it was wet, as water is prone to be, and Lego didn’t much relish the idea of it filling his lungs. He thought that inside of his lungs would be a very uncomfortable and rather inconvenient place for water to be. Up above the opening of the well allowed the midday light to shine down upon him. It did little to make him feel better, seeing how far away the exit to the well was. He estimated that it was a good fifty feet to the opening, which did not lift his spirits. Of course, the fall felt much longer than that, but unpleasant experiences have a way of slowing down time. He resolved to look into that particular magic when he got out of the well, the latest in a long list of investigations that he would never get to.
“I don’t suppose that anyone up there can hear me?” he called, as loud as he could. His small voice echoed up to the top of the well, but there was no response. “Damn,” he muttered, spitting water out of his mouth. The well was too wide for him to prop himself between the walls and push himself up, his small halfling body simply wasn’t long enough for that. “Stupid giant well. No one needs a well this wide,” he cursed.
Next to him floated the bucket and rope that had fallen with him. He tried to use it for buoyancy, but even with his slight frame and weight, the bucket did little good in that regard. He pushed it away, causing it to bounce off the far stone wall and float right back into him. Lego scowled and maneuvered his pack off of his back. He struggled to stay afloat and open it, but finally got it done. He rummaged through its contents, trying to find anything that could be of use in this predicament.
His knife? No. His now-soaked parchment and quill? No. His apples? No. His fork and plate? No. His camping tarp? No. His thermos? No. His gold coins? No, but he tossed one into the water, wishing to get out of the well.
Well, he thought, chuckling to himself and resecuring his property, time to get to climbing, I guess.
He searched for a handhold to work his tiny fingers into. Halfling fingers are much smaller than human and elf fingers (and dwarven fingers, for that matter), so he didn’t have to search for long before he was able to get a grip. His fingers strained as he lifted himself out of the water, but they were able to hold on. He kept one hand in place and began searching for another hold with the other. He found one and was able to pull his legs from the water. He felt around for footholds. When he was able to find some, he whooped with excitement.
“Oh, this is going to be a piece of sweetroll,” Lego said, now confident that he wasn’t going to die in this wet pit. He made slow progress, but it was consistent, going handhold and foothold to handhold and foothold, getting closer to the distant light with each passing moment. When he was about fifteen feet from the top, though, his foot slipped and his fingers failed at just the right moment, sending him falling back into the cold water.
His arms and legs shook, his fingers were bleeding, and he wasn’t sure that he could make the climb again. Just treading water was now a challenge and he feared that another fall would be the end of him. He wasn’t sure what choice he had, though. So he began searching for a handhold once again.
As he worked his fingers into that first hold, he noticed a gold coin floating next to him. At first he worried that his pack had burst open, but he checked and saw that everything was still secure. He examined the gold piece and realized that it was the one he had tossed earlier. Strange, gold pieces don’t normally float, he thought.
“No no, that’s for you,” said Lego, tossing the piece back into the water. “Silly well.” He went back to fitting his fingers into the stone wall when the gold piece returned to him once more. “Now you’re just being rude,” Lego said.
But then a hand appeared, lifting the coin from the water. The hand was attached to an arm, which also appeared from the water, seemingly becoming a solid appendage from the fluid, itself. The arm was slender and small, as was the young female form that it was attached to. Finally, the entire torso of a young girl appeared above the water, down to the waist. She had shining blue hair and a shimmering silver garb. Her eyes were large and a bright silver, matching her shirt. She smiled as she held out the coin Lego had tossed.
“Oh, hello,” said Lego.
“Hello!” said the girl. “Is this yours?”
“It used to be, child,” said Lego. “But now it belongs to this well, I suppose. Or, at least, that was the idea.”
“Oh. Why does a well need a gold coin?” she asked.
“I suppose it doesn’t, but that’s what you do, isn’t it? You toss a gold coin and you make a wish. Or a silver or copper if your purse is a little light.”
“And the well grants your wish?”
“Not always, but I’m one who likes to hedge his bets, you know?”
“What did you wish for?”
“I can’t say, my dear, for then it won’t come true.”
“But, um, who are you? And why are you in a well?” asked Lego, wondering why there was a wet child who seemed to be made of water in the bottom of the well.
“I live here!” she said, happily. “And down there, too.” She looked down into the water, indicating where she meant. “My name is Ulequa! I was just swimming around when I found your wish gold and thought I would see who put it there.”
“Guilty,” said Lego.
“Why are you down here?” she asked. “I live here, what’s your reason? Usually people just take a little water and then go away.”
“Which I was trying to do,” said Lego, “when I rolled a bad check and fell down here. Now I can’t seem to get myself out again. I don’t suppose you can help with that.”
“I can’t climb walls like this,” said Ulequa. “But I can get you to the lake!”
Lego was intrigued. “The lake, you say?” Ulequa nodded, vigorously. “How long can you hold your breath?”
“As long as it takes,” said Lego, not really sure of the answer but sure that this was his best chance. Ulequa smiled. Before Lego knew it, he was pulled under. He wished she had given him some warning so he could have taken a deeper breath, but it was too late for that now.
Water rushed by him at immense speed, roaring in his ears and stinging his eyes. He wished he could see where they were going, but the light from the well was long gone and everything was pitch black.
His lungs were bursting, screaming for air, when suddenly there was light again. Even so, he wasn’t sure he was going to make it. He felt some plants slap his head and suddenly he was in the air again.
Lego gulped in oxygen and looked around to see that he was a good thirty feet above the water. He gasped and sucked down air. He would have yelled, but his lungs just kept pulling more air in. Then he came down again.
He landed on a sandy beach, his small halfling body bouncing as it hit. He lay there, panting and praising the air filling his little lungs. He stared directly at the midday sun as it warmed his body.
“Oh, thank you, strange well water girl,” he said.
“You’re welcome!” came Ulequa’s voice from the lake. Lego sat up to see her waving from the water. He waved back. Ulequa held up the coin, which glinted in the sunlight. “I’m going to give this back to the well, since it granted your wish!” Her smile beamed. Lego nodded.
“Thank you!” he called. Ulequa laughed and disappeared into the water, becoming one with the lake.
Lego sat on the shore for a good while longer, appreciating dry land. He didn’t know who that strange water girl was, but he was grateful forever to her.
“Well now,” he said, standing, “time to find some lunch.” And he set off once again.
Thanks for reading! In Dungeons & Dragons I used to play a halfling rogue character named Lego. This story was me revisiting that character because, frankly, I missed the little guy. I didn’t really have a plan for this story besides “I’m gonna drop him down a well,” and I think it turned out pretty decent, considering the lack of premeditation. I hope you enjoyed it, as well, and if you did, be sure to check out my other stories! Give me a like and follow if you’re feeling cheeky, and thanks again for reading!