At the crack of dawn the dwarfs were back. Seems a bit odd – if they’re underground all the time what do they know about the sun’s cycle? I should say some dwarfs were back, could be the same ones could be different ones – it’s impossible to tell with these folk. It took about an hour for them to say they were inviting me into their tunnels or mines or whatever they are – dwarfs live in mines right? And another hour to tell me what an honor this was for me. They made me say some stuff in dwarfish, some kind of oath I gather, which seems pointless since I didn’t understand what I was saying. Maybe it’s some kind of magic dwarf-curse that will strike me down if I do whatever it is they’re worried about. What are they worried about anyway? They live in a hole in the ground.
I’ve never been particularly claustrophobic before, but then I’ve never gone down into dwarf-tunnels before either. The passage was plenty wide but it was slightly too short for comfort and with a dozen blocky dwarves the size of cart-ponies boxing me in it started to feel a little stifled. They led me to a room where there was little other than a long table with chairs on one side – I guess I was expected to stand. Seated on said chairs were several greybeards and one dwarf who was truly ancient – he looked like a bag of dust with a shirt on it. Every time he talked I expected him to crumble away right before my eyes. And he talked a lot. Whispered really, I found myself leaning in a lot and I still missed a third of what was said.
The gist of it was that they were very concerned about the possibility of the caravan not showing up. I wasn’t sure how much they knew, or cared, about the political situation up top so I gave them the lowdown on the current conflict with Vieland. They pointed out that I essentially had a caravan as well but I said we were all loyal citizens of the King and that wouldn’t be possible.
“I think if you want to get paid you’re going to have to head to Carmin yourselves.”
This idea clearly did not appeal to them at all. After some muttering to themselves they asked to see the spear, which I laid on the table before them, to much dwarfish murmuring. The old bag of bones examined it for what seemed like a week before they explained that this was the weapon of some great dwarf hero such and such the son of whoever clan whatsits etc. etc. They asked where I got it and when I told them I stole it from a Korrok cultist their beards about flew off their faces. There was much muttering and the making of hand gestures to ward off evil and the like – they sternly warned me not to speak that name in these halls.
They talked about how the Unnamed One was a plague on dwarfs everywhere and the thought of their great weapon being wielded by one of devotees was anathema. Then they gassed on for a while about what an important heirloom the spear was to their people and how prized it was before turning a sharp eye on me and asking how much I wanted for it. I shrugged.
“You can have it, sounds like it’s a big deal to you.”
I think that was even more startling to them than invoking the name of Korrok – not sure if it’s because they expect humans to be greedy or because they themselves are greedy or a combination of both. I clapped my hands together.
“Well gentlemen I mostly just came to trade so I think we’re about done here. All the best. Do I just go back up this tunnel here to get out?”
They weren’t having that. For returning the spear to them they felt honor-bound to grant me some kind of boon or reward. They offered me finely made dwarfen armor and weapons and whatnot but it was clear to all of us that I’m no warrior. I told them just to bring up some of their famous ale and food and whatnot to my folks and we’d have a feast and that would fine, but they insisted that wasn’t enough. They took me to a dwarf woman (they do exist) who they said was a runecaster of some sort. I’ve never been interested in tattoos, why would I mar my perfect skin like that? But I didn’t want to be rude so I allowed her to inscribe some runic markings onto my back. There was no pain – just a warm feeling. Since I’m a great hunter of spotted lions now I had her use that form.
Even then I had to endure some ceremony were I was made an honorary member of some dwarf clan or another. Maybe that means I’ll inherit a bunch of gold one day, but since dwarfs live for hundreds of years probably not. Finally I got to return to the sunlight where the feast was in full-swing. The food was exactly as bland as you’d expect from dwarfs – there was one meat dish that looked tasty but what meat is there underground? Tell me that and maybe I’ll try it. But the booze was great and there was plenty of it.
Everyone was having a grand old time. And why not? They’ve had a rough go of it lately. Being taken as slaves, menaced by a dragon and then by spotted lions, no harm in taking a moment to set that all aside and get good and wasted.
Funds: 39,858 gold
Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (tan), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, Ring of Animal Friendship, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, Handy Haversack, Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion)
Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, antitoxin (9), smelling salts (3), sunrods (3), thieves’ tools, tindertwigs (6), various and sundry inebriants and intoxicants
Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace (2), mithril hair clasps (3)
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot