Had turned out to be a bald dwarf as round as a pot-belled stove and about the same size. As I understand it most exile dwarfs are exiled because they’re kinslayers or mentally divergent, maybe this guy was kicked out (up?) from the dwarf tunnels for gluttony and sloth. I’ve never seen a bald dwarf before, it’s disconcerting. He had a beard down to his belt and yet his head was smooth like an egg, an egg made of skin. I didn’t care for it in the least. I also didn’t care for the way he was eyeballing me while he and Crinna droned on in dwarfish – which seems to be the only way to speak dwarfish, in a drone. I was keeping an eye out for further attacks but as soon as we walked into the place everyone else cleared out – even the bartender – so word must have gotten around. Which was nice because not only did I mean that I didn’t have to worry about a sneak attack but also it meant that the booze was self-service. And there’s really no one better to determine how much booze I need than me. Some things are just done best for yourself.
Eventually the droning droned to a stop and the two shook hands in an awkward way and the stove-dwarf waddled off while Crinna sat back looking immensely pleased with her. I addressed her from behind the bar.
“How many languages do you speak?”
“Oh several, I have a very talented tongue.”
“I’m sure. Is he going to get the guide or what’s the plan?
She shook her head, idly scratching at her stomach “The guide’s going to meet us in the hills, I know the way to the meeting spot.”
“I don’t care for that, what happens if you get an arrow through the skull?”
She grinned “I guess you better make sure that doesn’t happen huh?”
“What’s your angle here lady? Why are you so keen on getting to this tomb?”
“I’m just the helpful type. But if you need a better reason there’s a building in town filled with dwarf machines. No one has been able to work out how to operate them or even what they do. Had is going to give me a book that should help me figure it out.”
“That explains exactly nothing, what’s Had getting out of this? Also you were excited before you even talked to the dwarf. Also why would you care about some old dwarf machine? I’m sure it’s some kind of forge, what’s all dwarfs ever build.”
She sighed “Look, do you want my help or not?”
“I want to know what game you’re playing at.”
She scowled at me a moment before speaking “Things have been changing around here. Once you told me what your problem was I figured out what was going on. This dream woman of yours is messing with people’s minds, that’s why things have been getting so unpleasant around here lately. If burning some old corpse is going to stop that I’m all for it.”
“Why do you care about this shithole of a town?”
She lifted her chin defiantly “This shithole is my home.”
“Fair enough, I would prefer a more pure motivation like revenge but I guess civic pride will do.”
“Oh, I want revenge too, her followers have chased off some good people. Friends you might even say.”
I smiled “Now we’re talking.”
I give these would-be assassins points for persistence if nothing else. We hadn’t even made it out of “town” when I heard one of their spotters calling out to his companions to start shooting. I used my Ring and passed Crinna a potion and we invisibly slipped that ambush net. I was holding onto her hand as per invisibility protocols but I think she took it the wrong way. I also think she meant to whisper in my ear, but instead it was more at boob level.
“We have to hurry before the spells wears off!”
I tugged her back towards town “We do need to hurry, but not that way.”
“Why would we go back to town?”
“Because I’m tired of fighting my own battles.”
There may be only one tavern in town, but you can bet your last silver that there’s plenty of places were the lads get together and drink themselves stupid – especially in a habitat like this were the only jobs available are mining, hauling ore, and climbing mountains. That’s the kind of work that necessities getting obliterated on a regular basis. I told Crinna to take me to roughest place where humans still hung out. She asked why not go to an all half-orc hangout and I explained to her that those could just be working class losers, diversity is more often found amongst cutthroats and footpads.
The place she took reminded me of the Orc’s Head “tavern” in Gevudan where I matched wits with Gilthur Trueblood – no, not matched wits, outwitted entirely. There was a little wooden shanty – it looked like those steeple cover things you see on wells sometimes those probably have a name– protecting a couple barrels of moonshine from the elementals (kinda) and then a scattering of stumps and boxes and other odds and ends for the sittin’. There were maybe a dozen ragged looking hulks of gristle and muscle sitting around drinking away the cares of the day, and of their lives. They watched with a dull malice of rock lizards as I sashayed my pretty little self right up to their barrels of swill and plopped down a sack full of gold, making sure to spill some out on the ground.
“Good evening gentlemen, we are tonight’s entertainment. I have quite a bit more gold hidden on me person. Some people are coming to kill me and if they do they’re going to take it. If you kill them instead the gold is yours. Simple right?’
I’ve seen a couple half-orcs before, but this is the first time I’ve seen one whose skin was unmistakably purple. The purple half-orc, covered with the obligatory scars and wearing a stupid buckskin number, grunted and spoke for the group.
“What’s to stop us from killing you and taking the money ourselves?”
Crinna and I ducked behind the barrels as the arrows started flying “That.”
I wonder if my dream nemesis can actually control people once they give in to her dream charms because it seems pretty reckless to me that they would attack the drunken horde of lowlife scum. Half of them ran for the hills, but the other half counter-attacked in drunken rage. The smart thing would have been to just wait, so are they stupid or is their dream girl making them stupid? Hardly matters I suppose since the end result is the same, but it’s something to wonder about. A little more invisibility and Crinna and I were off again – and this time able to leave town unmolested.
Crinna looked back at Gib’s Tor as we headed into the rocky badlands “What about the money you promised them?”
“Are you serious?”
“Don’t you think they might come after you?”
“I’m never going back there again, who cares about what they might do?”
“I do, I live there!”
“That sounds like a personal problem. You speak at least four languages, you shouldn’t be hanging around this place anyway, you should be out selling your services as a translator to the highest bidder. Do you know how few people speak dwarfish?”
“I hired out to translate for you and look where that got me.”
“You’re getting exactly what you want, what do you have to complain about?” I shook my head “I feel like this day is taking forever, let’s get moving and get this over with.”
Crinna muttered sourly “All this trouble for a quarter of a bottle of booze.”
“You’re the one who agreed to it, you have no one to blame but yourself rummy. Learn how to negotiate better.”
Funds: 6642 gold
Inventory: Bag of Holding, +2 Distance Light Crossbow, traveling outfit, Ring of Invisibility, potion case, potions (Protection from Evil, Cure Moderate Wounds x4) Blessed Robes, Vampire Hunter’s Cloak, +1 Mithril Holy Undead Bane Sword-Cane
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 Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company, maker of the manacles, Calvados Eure, Law Offices of Lampblack and Brimstone, Peronell Missplitter, Nightmare Hag