The hobbit nods to Kragg, "I will separate our commands to avoid any confusion. I'll take the stables, you the main building. We can meet in the morning out front."
As Sir Wheatfield rolls up his maps and packs them on this horse for a long trip the next day, Hon furiously copies all he can from memory. The few minutes of looking at such a large map he feels he can get about 20-40% of the rough features of the map. The exact measurements of tunnels and trail locations are another story. Sir Wheatfield leaves most of the headquarters to the dwarves and moves the majority of his equipment into the stables with Sarah and Devon, the small horses.
Sir Wheatfield realized the intelligence value of his maps, and tried to pack them away expeditiously without moving with undue haste.
The night passes uneventfully with Sir Wheatfield, Marcus, two horses and two grooms in the stables. The dwarves have the main building.
|Kibibblepep Sparkle Eye|
At some point during the evening, before he departs for the night, Kib approaches the small knight and Marcus "Sir Wheatfield! What a splendid battle that was! And I must say, your prowess has reminded me of another quest that should ideally suit one of your training and ideals. When last we were in Garrison, I had the oppourtunity to take a tour of the old Goblin Wizard's tower. It seems that... (Kib proceeds to relate all he heard of the tower and the curse and quest and reward and so forth)... and so it seemed to me that such a bastion of ancient evil should not be allowed to remain unchecked and unchallenged with so many innocents nearby. If you would be willing to lend your strong and righteous aid I believe I can speak for my fellow Dwarves and say that we would be honoured to be a part of such a quest with you."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Sir Wheatfield nods to Kib. "That tower has been around for years, it will always be there. It is the most checked evil there is. Only those wanting to face the traps and essence of the nastiest evil wizard dare venture there. That tower is not going anywhere, but there are so many emergencies on my plate. Now that you helped me check the Destroyer, I need to move on to the next one."
Sir Wheatfield unrolls a military dispatch. "A group of dwarves with all the best mining skills and forging skills, without consulting with me, I may add, have tried to reclaim their mines from the dark dwarves. I know where they went in, if you can trust a human spy, but I don't know what happened to them."
The hobbit looks to the sky and seems to talk to air, "Do all dwarves act on their own. Dad, what did they see in you?"
Kib watches Sir Wheatfield open his map and write a quick note by Shaft 3--Air vent 200' to surface--reinforced timbers.
"They went in the back way, but how sneaky can dwarves in full plate be?"
Sir Wheatfield seems to truly like Kib, "Wouldn't any collaboration we have be doomed to failure. I am used to giving orders, and your dwarves are used to refusing orders, it is not a match made in heaven."
"I think your dwarves would refuse an order from me to forced march to the mountains, but you might be able to convince them. My mobility is wasted in a tunnel battle."
Assuming Khazad hears the exchange or after Kib relays the info
"It is true that we dwarves are beset by rivalries. Every dwarf wants only to follow the true dwarven ways, but ask any two dwarves what they are and you'll get different responses. Our group is supposed to work towards uniting the dwarves, but looking at us we have a lot of ground to cover.
That said, I think that helping out fellow dwarves in a fight against our duergar "cousins" is a task about as worthy of a dwarf as it gets. Not to mention we can profit from helping to reclaim the mine that way."
After noticing Khazad drawn into the conversation,
"Well, in the mine you don't have to build your own fortifications. That would be a plus for your group."
He pulls out a feather. "Do any of you know these dwarves in the mountains? I may need to get them a magic message. But first we need to put that tunnel in the bottom of the lake for good. I think one of you needs to tell him to throw Whelm into the tunnel for good."
He then scratches his face, "How did you let a human have that hammer, by the way. That would really piss off some dwarves I know."
"I've met their leader in the dwarven temple in the city of Garrison. His name was Thumper I believe. He seemed resourceful enough to stand a chance against the duergar. It would be good to know how he is faring.
By the way, I got an impression that the bug hunt makes for a significant part of the local rations. Will the locals find a replacement for their meat if we cut off the bugs for good?
About the hammer... It's a long story. Magnum basically saved our lives when we were discovering the legacy of the Dark Owl, and this was his prize. Had you known him more, perhaps you would understand. He should really have been born a dwarf, and this hammer is said to be capable of making one out of him. An avatar of Magrim himself witnessed the deal and did not object."
Nar spits, "Aye killing the Duegar would be good in the eyes on Angradd. Filth of their kind should not be allowed to roam, and if fellow dwarves have run afoul of them, we should give them aid or avenge them if it comes to it."
Assuming this conversation occurs where everyone is present...What Khazad speaks is true. We all have our own ideals of what dwarves unity would look like? That is a blessing and the curse of being a longer lived race than humans. We remember more of the past and like the stone we where we dwell are hard to bend to different views. However, Khazad is right that we would do well to support our brethren. Our goal was to obtain ships from the legendary ice yard. Tis would theoretically help our movement around to where we would need to go. I ask you this sir Wheatfield, would we be quicker gaining the ships mobility and returning to the dwarves entrance than force marching there right now? I am of the mindset that the dwarves limitation is in their lack of mobility. You said so yourself that we would have to force march to get there at the same speed you would normally. Your thought on the matter?
Kragg will wait patiently knowing that the hobbit and him have not agreed on much to this point. An outside view though would help fix any issues that may be present but can't be seen.
|Kibibblepep Sparkle Eye|
Kib nods to many of Sir Wheatfields comments, genuinely beginning to warm again to the Hobbit Knight, despite his authoritarian ways "We Dwarves kin be a hard headed bunch alright', ain't none gonna argue with that. But I don' think it be so much a matter o' us being used tae 'refusing orders' Sir Wheatfield. Ye see, ye may indeed be used tae giving orders, but it just be that we ain't quite yet used tae ye. Remember we Dwarves live a long, long time, n' so our trust is very slow tae build n' not easily given, yet once it is, it be set in stone n' therefore not easily shaken nor removed. So give us time, tha more we work together, tha more trust between us, in both directions, will grow. In tha meantime, might'n I suggest that instead o' 'giving us orders', ye might consider making suggestions tae us, n' therefore giving us the oppourtunity tae give our input as well. Cause, no offence meant Sir Wheatfield, but Kragg is our leader here, not ye, n' that means we follow orders from him and him alone. Perhaps tha two o' ye kin work out a means o' mutual understandin' n' cooperation like?"
"As fer our next task, I say the Ice Ships kin wait. For if our cousin Dwarves be in any kind o' trouble, ther gonna need our help now, not later."
|Kibibblepep Sparkle Eye|
Perhaps I'm not understanding the maps properly, but how would us having the ice ships help the dwarves? Where they are is not coastal, is it? And wouldn't be going in two different directions to get to either the ships or the adamantium mine? Anyway, if we do the ships first, it might be too late by the time we reach the Dwarves in the mine fighting the Druegar, that's the point Kib was trying to get across.
"If'n we do have tae resuce tha Dwarves n' retreat from the mines, I figure just leavin' them should be enough. Them Druegar rarely come tae tha surface n' I don't see 'em chasin' us down any distance over land."
True the ice ships are a different direction, but not sure how the coastline affects the journey to the mountain mines. The cost could be directly next to the mine and thus shorten our trip. Likewise the coast could be 10 days journey from the mountain and a complete waste of time. Hopefully Wheatfield will have the answers or let us look at the maps.
The ice ships would not help out in this case.
"Well, if you ran into Thumper the Forgemaster, why did you not join his group? He is THE authority on mining and metalworking in the land. He is over two hundred years old if he is a day and a legitimate hero of the goblin wars. Didn't you try to talk him out of this?"
Wheatfield thinks for a moment. "Wait, he would have pulled rank on you and you would not have wanted to listen to him. I think you reservation dwarves probably look down on the integrated dwarves."
I think Nar and Gallak count as integrated dwarves--they have been too polite to use the words 'reservation dwarves'.
"Well, you can rush to the White Wizard. I'll ride ahead and tell him to make a gateway. But, as you probably won't join his Light Coalition, he will make you pay dearly. You do have some cash on you?"
He looks at Kib, "I have been fighting too long to be part of a group that goes by suggestions. It may work for you dwarves now, but it didn't work in the goblin wars, and won't work with me."
Magnum speaks up, "Can't you tell the White Wizard that getting us to the mines is the right thing to do. Charging us for doing good deeds seems to be contrary to this whole Light Coalition act for the greater good credo. If word gets around about charging for good deeds, and you were a part of it, I would think that would be bad."
The argument Magnum puts forward seems logically consistent.
Wheatfield, your assumptions are starting to annoy me. I was at the temple with Khazad even though I didn't speak to Thumper. Thumper never identified himself outside of stating he was composing an expedition to the mountains. He did not ask us to join him. Khazad indicated that we would join him after this current trip to the north. Where you gt your information from and your opinions are beyond me. We follow legitimate authority and the directives of those above us. If you call questioning the orders of someone that is unknown to you as belligerent and stubborn than so be it and we shall part ways. Low though that we strive to do good in this world. I for one do not look down on any dwarf regardless of means or stature. We are all of the same ancestral blood and need to support one another in order to survive. You have vital information that may help us aid our brethren would you share that information now and let us look at your map.
If not then We leave after we give our regards and update to the lord of this land. From here we go as we wish and leave you to your own journey. We will not interfer with your plans and ask you do not interfer with ours. Next time we meet I hope that have learned patience and openness when dealing with others. When giving orders make sure that those you are ordering have already agreed to follow you or your pride may get in the way of those orders.
Wheatfield seems taken aback.
"I guess I may have made some hasty conclusions based on faulty information and first impressions. If you rush to the White Wizard, I think I can guarantee he will have a gateway open to where you want. I may even convince him to send someone to meet you on the road and save more time."
He hands one of his maps to Kragg, the one Hon was anxious to copy.
"Marcus and I will be riding throught the night if you agree to march straight north. I don't think you want to push everyone too hard. If the old man agrees to help, he will send someone quickly to meet you and get you there. That map is a loan, I expect it back."
"Shaft 3 is where they went in, I put the notes on the map."
Thank you, Sir. We will head back as soon as we give word to the lord that the bugs are removed. The first leg of the journey we will force march to cover the ground quicker. Once closer we will travel at normal pace to conserve our energy and be in fighting form as we go through the gate. Speedy travels to you. We will see you again then.
Turning to the rest of the group, Hon I charge you to protect this map as it is on loan to us from the good knight. You have a knack for stag out of trouble. Guard it well. For the rest prepare to head back and support our brethren in their fight against the dark dwarves of the mountain mines. The ice ships will be there when we are finished, our brethren need help now. We leave soon and double time it back to the white wizard to have him send us to the mines. Gallak, make your report to the lord and I will see to it that your gear is packed. Let's go. You all know what to do.
Kragg will see to his pack and gear and then tend to Gallak's. If someone is available, Kragg will send a messenger with Gallak to the city to purchase 4 thunder stones to collapse the tunnel. Strong words of care to run once they are thrown in the tunnel accompany the expense of thunderstones.
Khazad frowns at the hobbit knight.
"I did say that we'll join him if he postpones his operation till our return, but you yourself said he's two centuries older than me, who am I to order him around? And I'm not in command with this group either. We have all made our arguments to Kragg who is in command and he made his decision, now we obey it. This is how Dwarven discipline works, and when a dwarf is so integrated he forgets about what sets him apart from humans it's a sorry sight."
Funny how this whole reservation vs integrated debate is relevant to the IRL situation where I live
KnLocal: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Gallak nods and departs. Hoping the wait in court is as brief as possible, he nonetheless summons a small ocarina-like instrument, humming out a merry tune of adventure and excitement on his way there.
His report is unexaggerated and scientific in detail, but short and entertaining. He goes on to explain the heroes are off soon in two groups to accomplish similar deeds elsewhere, but is as vague as possible about a mine and some dwarves and gates.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
A Bit of retcon for Gallack
With scrolled map in hand, gently stuffing in his now empty scroll case,"Gallak, please acquire a couple of sheets of decent or high quality vellum, quills and inks. Oh and another map case would really be nice... Here are some coins, should cover the cost." End retcon
Back at battlesite...
Grumble.. grumble... Forced march my.... backpack chafes my.... grumble, thats gonna hurt, ...move that over here, ...grumble... why'd I get this dang pelt... grumble... Hon rearranges the contents of his backpack and accessories tied thereupon converting from easy access to tightly packed and silent. Finished, he stands upright with practically no gear except armor and his quick access pouches, with all else tightly bound to his backpack. Looking a bit like a turtle, Hon does a practice stealth at full speed, moving amongst the others when they become distracted. "Boo."Stealth 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12 "Yeah, that'll do for now."
The dwarves prepare to head north after a night of celebration and relaxation. The ale is quite good, the meat delicious, the roasted bug better than iron rations.
After the dwarves have been traveling about four or five hours just at about the noon hour they come upon a tall human lady sitting on a rock. She is wearing a white divided skirt and a white and blue embroidered long-sleeved blouse with a thin, guazy material over her shoulder as a shawl. Her hair is light brown and her eyes a deep blue. She is wearing a large medallion of gold, silver, and copper. The medallion show a gold sun in the center relecting off many silver mirrors.
She rises at your approach, "You must be the dwarves I heard about, I am Liselle. It appears you made quite an impression on the little toy general. I don't think you should expect any Yuletide presents from him this year."
She looks around and talks half to herself and half to you, "A large group, it appears. At least you don't have horses."
She then talks louder and addresses you, "Well, if any of you want to go to the mountains now, hold hands in a circle with all your stuff and close your eyes. If you peek, you may get sick."
Sense motive on the lady. Too coincidental to have met with someone already.
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Liselle, I'm Kragg. Before we depart, who are you and how did you hear of us in such a short time? It is better to be cautious than to run into folly. Please explain yourself.
If it seems she is telling the truth than Kragg will listen and inquire to where exactly are they being delivered. Once the answers are give then he will grab her hand.
"Ah yes. How fortune smiles upons us. Like having a beer waiting for just outside the gladiator ring, eh Kragg? Excuse me Mi'ladyship, that is a beautiful medallion, who would be the artisan that crafted such a wonder?" Catching the suspicion from Kragg, he assists with the inquiry, delaying with conversational small talk.
May I assume that Gallack is with us? I think I will after 5 hours of marching.
Sense motive(assist?) 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
An Appraise as as well 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Liselle nods at Kragg's words,
"I will tell you the answer in one word: Magic." Kragg feels the lady is being intentionally vague. Hon feels she is being somewhat deceptive.
"I was warned not to tell you what to do, so I have simply made an offer. I have not ordered you to close your eyes, only suggested you do it to avoid sickness."
A look of concern appears on the lady's face.
"Well, we have a problem. I was hoping to rush you through this process and not make you think about it. Dwarves are somewhat resistant to magic. I would hate to leave some of your number behind because they do not trust me and I cannot overcome your magic resistance."
Hon estimates the medallion at about 100gp value. The symbol is none anyone recognizes.
She speaks of the medalion, "The Coalition of Light hands out these medalions to members. Some wear them openly, some do not."
A very instrospective Hon mulls over the particule phrasing of mi'lady's language. "I am intrigued by your words. An offer I can refuse. It would seem I do things often the most difficult way, if only because there is a stick or a bit of platinum on a string, never a simple offer of assistance without conditions. Unless we've already met those conditions and we are part of the solution of someone elses problem. If magic can reduce the effort put forth by this most lowly of reluctant dwarves, count me in."
Something in Hon's body language indicate the relaxing of his guard. He stands at ease, enjoying the respite from a long forced march, awaiting Kragg's decision.
|Merciful Executioners Axe|
For once Khazad shares the feelings of his axe. But there appears to be nothing he can base his suspicions on, so he tries to employ logic as best as he can.
This seems like a perfect coincidence. But if I've learned anything on this expedition, its there are no perfect coincidences, especially when humans are involved.
"Little toy general?" Is that how you think of your fellow Coalition members? Incidentally, sir Wheatfield told us that since we're not in the Coalition ourselves, getting help from it will be chargeable. Yet here you are, in the middle of nowhere, offering us free service. If your goal is to speed us on the way to our destination, why are you sitting on this rock and not moving to meet us faster? Something doesn't add up in my book, lady. A simple army man like me only follows when he knows what exactly the orders are and who exactly gave them.
He stares at the lady rather rudely, trying to see if something in her appearance or demeanor is at odds with the words she says.
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Being vague is one thing, misleading and not answering the questions is another. Liselle, suggestions as you made are but thinly veiled orders. When in the history of this world is it considered stubborn or argumentative to ask questions of strangers before we just do what they say. Maybe you and soldier boy have an understanding, but that does not mean It include the rest of the world. If your offer is sincere and true than I thank you, but your answer of magic an go both ways. Just because you use magic we should trust you? Magic can be used for devious means to obtain enough information to lead us astray. So again I will ask for you to please explain yourself before we just agree to whatever it is you suggest. Tell us exactly where we are going, what the conditions of that area are, and who will be there as well.
Sense motive 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Never mind I believe her explicitly with that roll.
Liselle speaks again to Khazad, "I chose this rock because I am resting somewhat. I think I will sit down again, as this appears to be an extended conversation."
Liselle resumes sitting.
"Some of you are suspicious because I came too quickly. Some of you are suspicious because I came too late." She glances at Khazad.
"It has been determined that getting you to some mines may serve the greater good. I suspect it is because in a fight between dwarves and duergar, the Coalition of Light always backs the dwarves as long as they are minimally reputable. I could never myself charge for aiding in this struggle."
"Anyway, let's start over. I am Liselle, a magician of the Coalition of Light. I trust that your cause is good. I offer, without charge, to take you to any place you can show me on a map. This will, of course, involve magic. Sir Wheatfield insisted I take you to this out of the way place in the mountains, but as the subjects must be willing, I'll take you wherever you want to go."
The calm and confident demeanor of the woman makes an impression on Khazad. He says quietly aloud: "Okay, take it easy. Looks like this one time it may not be a trap."
To the woman, he says, still somewhat grumpily: "Okay, now you make sense. If only you started with a proper introduction and explanation, this business could already be over."
Well said Khazad. For my part, your words sound true, Liselle. Would you grant us one last consideration so we may be prepared. Nar, have you prepared that spell you mentioned in Garrison to determine the future. If so perhaps you we should have you cast that to learn about our destination while that is happening, Hon bring that map so we may show Liselle where we are to enter. I believe sir Wheatfield said something about the third shaft. Is there any other notes Wheatfield wrote that we should vibe aware of?
Once prep is done than Kragg is satisfied as well and he is ready to trust Liselle.
Concur. Let magic deliver us. I love borrowing someone else's mobile broadband. I feel so, so unsecure. Should I wash my laptop afterwards?
Hon unrolls the map for all to see, grabbing an inkwell, pen and a journal as well. He starts cribbing more of Sir Wheatfield's notes(perhaps a paragraph or three) figuring that is all he has time for.
"I would really like an uninterrupted block of time later to finish this. But piecemeal works OK for now. Just a little bit here and there and time enough to dry thus far."
No further comments from Hon although his stance implies an eagerness to try a bit of magical travel.
|Kibibblepep Sparkle Eye|
Apologies for the absence. I'd written a long post putting Sir Wheatfield in his place, but I see now the post monster ate it, dang it. Oh well, he's behind us now.
Having stayed quiet this whole time, Kibebblepep had instead watched the lady closely, listed to her words and thought about what she had to say.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
But if he seems to trust her and nothing seems amiss, remaining silent, he joins the circle and grabs hands with the others.
Looked at nar's spells and he doesn't usually have augury memorized so will skip that part.
Liselle I believe we are ready to depart. Here on the map for sir Wheatfield is our destination. Shaft 3 was their entrance supposedly. That is our goal and will hope to pick up their trail there and offer what support we can. If no word from the dwarves can be obtained, then it looks like vengeance and retribution will be our task instead.
Kragg grabs Liselle hand and Khazad in the other. Ready to depart.
The slender lady ends her approximately 20 seconds of chanting and completes the circle, but nothing happens. She seems somewhat surprised, "This doesn't happen to me."
Phew, at least I didn't attack anyone. Can I or someone else influence the axe, or it only works one way?
Khazad suddenly breaks the circle and steps back. He seems confused and frustrated.
"No! Human magic has never done any good for us dwarves! Do not let her charms fool you! The human treachery knows no bounds!"
He looks feverish and grasps the hilt of his axe as he says that.
Khazad's face shows anger and surprise and he stares on his hands as they grab the axe and hit Gallak squarely on the shoulder.
Attack: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
Damage: 1d12 + 6 + 1d6 ⇒ (12) + 6 + (5) = 23 nonlethal
Will save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
"Traitor! You are trying to distract me from upholding the dwarven cause!"