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Fly by Knight
08-03-2009, 08:33 AM
Ferous Goldvein sits at the table, finishing his military style meal and takes his last gulp of ale. Staring into the ether, his eyes glass over from the copious amount of drink and from sheer boredom. 28 years ago, he had given his oath to be part of the militia, since then the only battle he has had to face is with the fleas he got in his beard working with war dogs.
“Goldvein, it’s time, get your arse up!” Sargeant Dulfr Hammerfist says, as he pounds the table with his war hammer, snapping Ferous out of his state. Grabbing his shield and axe, Ferous joins his 11 other brothers in arms for another patrol into the deep mines.
Farther and deeper they march, walking for what seems to be hours. Ferous has once again drifted to thoughts of what else he can do with his life, marching mindlessly in step as he has for 28 years. As they reach their destination Sgt Hammerfist bellows out orders for the detail to create a perimeter as they were in a large cave.
“When are we ever going to see some action?” Ferous grumbles under his breath. “What are you grumbling about Goldvein, you don’t have to talk to set up your sector!” Hammerfist’s booming voice snaps Ferous to attention and startles him. “Yes Sargeant!” Ferous yells, as he wonders how it is that that guy can always get him.
About 10 minutes later, Sargeant Hammerfist yells “Goldvein, you want some action, you’ve got it. I’m tired of your belly aching. Come here!” As Ferous approaches his superior, all of the rest of his detail has made a semi circle around something. As he elbows his way through, he sees a cavern that has recently been exposed due to a cave in. “Get your arse down there and check it out. See where it goes and yell out if you see something.” Ferous takes a deep breath and smells old earth and iron, he smiles and drops down into the tunnel.
Walking for about thirty minutes, Ferous stops, and realizes that he is in a shaft created many, many years ago. Just then, he hears the tell tale pops that the earth makes when it’s ready to give way. “Oh shite!” is all he can get out before the bottom simply drops out from under him and he falls approximately 20 feet to a natural slide. Ferous slides several hundred feet more then drops another ten feet to soft earth. He stands quickly and moves to his left, avoiding the earth that follows him. He looks up and sees that his entrance was sealed by rock and dirt. No way to climb back out and no way to dig.
Ferous turns around and begins looking into the cavern that he has been delivered. It’s about 200 yards long and 30 yards wide. There are multiple entrances into it, two to his right and 3 directly in front of him and to the left. Ferous wipes off his weapons and kit, clearing them of earth then checks his food supply to reveal three days of food and mead available.
Suddenly a sound stirs in the stillness that is Underdark. Ferous raises his shield and readies his axe. His breath quickens as he remembers the hundreds of stories told of places like this, both terrifying and exciting at the same time. After what seems to be an eternity Ferous decides to begin his trek through this ancient and lost series of mine shafts, constantly trying to follow them up, but each time, they lead back down and further into the unknown.
For 5 days, Ferous wanders the tunnels never finding one living thing. He has not eaten or drank for 2 of those days and has begun to reach some desperation in both hunger and thirst. As he walks the tunnels, softly singing drinking songs, he hears the same sound again. The same sound that he has heard for the past five days. It’s stalking him! He picks up his pace, as he has in the past but then stops abruptly.
Ferous turns upon the tunnel he has just ventured through with a wide smile. His eyes are slightly glassy as his lips stick to his teeth, giving him a snarled look. He begins to walk in the direction of the sound, as it occurs again, this time closer.
Reaching up to his helmet, Ferous flips down his nose and eye shield then pulls his axe from its resting place, he looks at it and sees it has earth on it where he was trying to dig for water. Ferous stops, summons up his last bit of saliva and spits on the axe, then wipes off the dirt. Hefting his shield, he takes the upper guard with his axe as he hears the movement approach slowly. Ferous begins to slowly walk, then jog toward the noise.
“Today is as good as any to die. Either way, one of us will eat this day, that I can guarantee. I leave it to old Silverbeard to decide who is worthy then!”

mnemenoi
08-04-2009, 12:40 PM
In the dark the heat of the creatures body can be seen quite well, though what immediately stands out are the red eyes. It appears about your size, but a bit thinner in frame. You are able to make out that in it's hand is what appears to be a short blade, but it wears no formal armor and is not moving to attack. It retreats cautiously, never offering you it's back.

"You are no Derro, what are you doing here within the Keeper's domain?" in a feminine voice. "Should you seek out my death then the Lord of secrets shall have yet another that will never leave this hallowed place."

You have seen a few of your darker cousins, the Duergar, and knew they ventured deep within the older shafts. They were very secretive about what they found and it was commonly held by many that they might be hiding something of value that they had plumbed from its depths. It was also whispered that they could be in league with those they had supposedly forsworn, falling back into a life of Immorality and evil as had their patron, the exiled son.

Fly by Knight
08-04-2009, 01:19 PM
Stopping abruptly causes the normally oak like legs of Ferous to buckle due to weakness brought about by dehydration. Kneeling then on his left leg Ferous comes to a stop.

Keeping his body partially covered by his shield, Ferous moves the axe to behind the shield as well.

He tries his best to smile, splitting his dried lips so blood begins to trickle into his beard. Coughing, he replies "Well met cousin Duergar, I am no Derro. And I do not seek your death, only to prevent my own." Further coughing, Ferous tries his best to look benign to the Duergar ensuring his axe is out of site.

Inwardly, Ferous knows that the Duergar have become more friendly to his kind, he only hopes to not pose a threat and that this cousin of the deep earth will see this. Outwardly, between his haggard breathing and now varying heat signature, he must appear almost mad with thirst. He readies himself for what the Duergar decides, as either way, he will get some sustenance this day.

"Can you spare a drop of water to a lost soul? I will happily trade a knife for it."

mnemenoi
08-04-2009, 07:20 PM
"I can spare you water and food," tossing you a full skin. "I'd certainly like to know how you managed to get in here though... The lord of secrets has considered this his holiest place for some time and never allows others in, only the delvesonns may enter. It was the chosen that alerted me to someone here, they were confused why you were here," in a quiet voice. She moves forward while sheathing her blade and immediately begins looking through a pack for some food or anything edible.

"I am Dolastr Vyrn Garnet keeper of the shield, who are you and why have you been chosen?" in a cryptic manner.

You still feel that you are being watched and even now can hear faint sounds echoing through the tunnels in this strange labyrinth of mine shafts.

She seems to locate what she has been searching for and hands you a small collection of various fungi and smoked meat, but they seem pleasant to the taste.

Fly by Knight
08-04-2009, 09:39 PM
Sliding his axe into it's ring, Ferous takes a long drink from the wine skin and immediately begins coughing as the water feels like both a healing elixer and acid burning his rough throat.

He wipes his face, smearing the blood and dirt across his face and beard. His mouth moves as if to talk, and nothing comes out. Ferous holds up his finger and tries to smile, coughs, then takes a long draw from the wines skin again. He then takes a deep breath and clears his throat.

Taking a bite of the smoke meat, he answers through a full mouth. "Well met Dolastr Vyrn Garnet Keeper of the Shield, I am in your debt." Another long drag of water, and shoving the fungi in after it. Once again through a full mouth. "I have been wandering these tunnels for days, I could have sworn you were something with large teeth looking for food as I was."

"Wait! Did you just say chosen?"

One more drink of water. "I was certainly delivered here, by a collapsing tunnel and slide".

"Wait, forgive me my lady, my name is Ferous Goldvein, and it is my great pleasure to make your aquaintence."

"I am a member of the millitia, and while on patrole, I was checking out a mine shaft revealed from a recent collapse. The shaft was an ancient one, after exploring for a bit, it collapsed again, delivering me here."

"Now, as to being chosen, I don't believe I have been chosen for anything in my life, I'm sorry to say my lady, you may have mistaken me for someone else."

"That being said, you did just save me, and I did mean it when I said that I am in your debt. I don't know much, but I do know how to use this axe, and if it can be of assistance to you, it would be my honor to repay my debt, unless you would like to just take me up on this knife. While it's not a fine one, it's a good one all the same."

With that, Ferous extends his hand holding the wine skin, all be it, only about a quarter left.

As Ferous does extend his hand, he pays close attention to her body language. How does she react to his hand being extended toward her and how does she react to his words. Also, he uses this opportunity to look for any markings or items of interest that a short but closer look affords.

mnemenoi
08-19-2009, 01:34 PM
She seems to listen to your response, but appears to dismiss it. She wears what appears to be some mining leathers and a simple brown cloak. One thing that does certainly catch your eyes is a large emerald that hangs from her chest. Though obscured it is quite impressive and certainly odd considering her spartan clothing.

She refuses the skin you have offered back, "Please drink it all, I have more then enough. You have been blessed though, Ferous Goldvein and your clans namesake has marked you beloved of the lord of secrets. I can not tell you why, only what is. You owe me nothing, it was not I that has found you, only the one guided here by the chosen. They are very secretive and many know nothing of their ways. Once we were one, but long ago we have diverged. Dumathoin has many children though and grants each what we may know and what we must keep. He has now marked you, as you are here in his abode. I feel a greatness surrounding you..." as her eyes fill with awe.

"I shall lead you out if that is what you wish, but know that the Secret lord has allowed you a vision of his secrets and expects you to respect his privacy," her voice becoming stern and a bit cryptic again.

Fly by Knight
08-19-2009, 09:29 PM
Ferous listens to her intently, as he finishes the water. He lowers the skin from his lips, dripping water down his beard and chest.

He is visibly taken aback by the way she looks at him, as no one has ever looked upon Ferous Goldvein in that manner.

"Dolastr Vyrn Garnet keeper of the shield, I am truly in no position to disagree with you, while you must believe I do not truly grip it as the truth yet."

"I have never been in a holy place. I guess you don't know until your told huh?" "I'm in no hurry to return, if I can be of service to you or if there is something that you feel I am supposed to do."

"You say that you were guided by the chosen, are they the ones who I hear but cannot see?" "I would like to meet them, if that's not too forward."

"Of course, if it is not meant to be that I am to be of further purpose to you or your Keeper of Secrets, then I do swear to keep any locations secret, and only wish to return to my duties as a lowly soldier."

Ferous then, not sure what to so with the water skin, slowly offers it back to her, looking at the emerald then to her.

mnemenoi
08-20-2009, 07:46 PM
She accepted the empty skin and smiled coyly. There were few amongst the shields that were not of the duergar and those were viewed with some trepidation by their clans. Dumathoin was the keeper of secrets under the mountain, patron of the shield dwarves. He was also the lord of the dead and his priests protected any that had long since passed from this world. Though respected, there was always enough superstition to avert many that would normally have sought his council.

"You have been chosen for a reason, though our lord is quite secretive even to his faithful. I can suggest that you speak with the Osk Verbain, Beljuril of Dumathoin here within the stead. He might be able to shed some illumination on what you seek," as she begins searching over the rough hewn walls around her.

"Greetings Orecutter, please show thyself that Ferous Goldvein might know thee," in a very antiquated form of Dethek.

At her words the stone from wall seems to become malleable. A strange form steps out, appearing as cold as the walls surrounding it. It appears roughly the shape of a dwarf, though its cold emanations are immediately apparent to your heat vision.

"Thou art known to me, Clansmen Goldvein. Know that I am Valland Ovhig. You shine bright amongst the dark," in a gravelly tone in the same ancient form of the dwarven tongue.

Fly by Knight
08-20-2009, 10:55 PM
Happily surprised, Ferous smiles and nods his head toward the Orecutter. He looks up from the nod to look fully upon the being, genuinely grateful that her silent companion was not a dragon or other beasty with an appetite for lost Dwarves.

"Thou art known to me Valland Ovhig, it is an honor. I thank you for guiding her to me as I fear my days were numbered.

Know you both, that I do not take lightly the wisdom you have passed to me, or the opportunity to assist you and your cause, whatever that might be.

If it is Osk Verbain who ultimately saved me, then it is he whom I must thank and offer my services. And as you say, his illumination sounds exactly what I seek.

So much to take in, in such a small amount of time.

Verily well, prithee, lead on my friends as my day seems to improve by the moment."

Ferous is cautious about the proper way to address both her and her companion. He knows that she represents more than what she presents. While standard mining clothing is one thing, very rarely would a gem be so prominent, even while trying to hide.

Ferous takes the last bite of smoked meat as he awaits their response.

mnemenoi
08-21-2009, 02:57 PM
The cold and dark dwarf listens as if a mere statue of stone. "We were not accustomed to any within the sanctuary and must admit that when first we happened across you that we were wary. It was only recently that we began to worry as time could be seen taking its toll upon you. Though we do know the Delvensonns from above, we are unfamiliar with your requirements. I am glad we were able to make it to you in time."

"Seek ye out Osk Verbain, we are blessed of the Keeper, but we know little of the affairs amongst the surface. Our place is here and the stones to sing to us. Here may we find our sustenance. Here is our realm, our peace, our union. We have no place amongst our brethren, though we do maintain our shared history. The stone lord has shone himself upon you and this shall be your call that he hath something grand indeed for your destiny. Good luck in your endeavor and fear not, should you have stone beneath you then the lord of the mountain is with you."

Dolastyr stands still in the other dwarfs presence as though the mere meeting is something quite unfamiliar with her. She regards the man as someone of great respect and only bows her head in deference to his being.

Fly by Knight
08-22-2009, 10:46 AM
With a smile, Ferous swallows the last of his food. And with a bow of the head.

"While I have few aquaintences outside of the people who are in the millitia, I have even fewer friends. Verily, Valland Ovhig, I think upon you as a friend now, regardless of your feelings toward me. Both you and the fair Dolastr Vyrn Garnet."

He ends his sentence with a physical bow.

"I will then look to Osk Verbain, and look forward to his guidence and aquaintence, though, I fear that a lowly being such as myself would not even be bothered with, let alone treated with friendly intonations."

"HA! While it's true that I have been unbelievably well by you fine folk, I fear once leaving your presence, I will once again be Ferous Goldvein, average warrior, and even less than average social stature. Perhaps, I can meet him through joining his millitia?"

Ferous shrugs his shoulders, as the truth of his social status once again weighs heavily on his shoulders. Life of a person living with such a barrier is quite restricting, not by physical ability, but my mental outlook.

"How then may I come into contact with a camp of his to volunteer myself? While my serving in the millitia has been long, my contract of servitude has expired, now I am free to go as I please. Perhaps my axe will be of better service with him and his causes?"

"So then, mum, if you could either guide me to a camp of Osk Verbain, or a way out, I will seek him out, or at least his forces."

He looks to Valland "Sir, it is an honor to be known to you, and I can only hope to see you again."

Ferous flips up his face mask, resettles his shield, strokes his beard, and smiles to the both of them.

mnemenoi
08-24-2009, 12:21 PM
Valland only nods his head, perhaps not understanding exactly what the dwarf was saying or at least having little understanding of his concerns.

"Verily shall we listen for you. Do not despair, your time is at hand young man. We shall listen as you shake the ground," as the shadowed dwarf again seems to step into the wall itself. In seconds there is nothing to even suggest he ever stood amongst you giving you an almost strange feeling.

Dolastr nods and begins walking through the twisting tunnels, "It is some distance to the entrance to this place. We shall pass under the Arch of Holmkell and then emerge amongst our clans. You shall illicit some oddity as there are few that are allowed, but do not worry. I am a keeper of the shield and none question our affairs," as she moves swiftly amongst the stone. You suspect that she knows this cavern system well to negotiate it this easily.

"We shall then journey to my home, wherein you may bathe and do whatever you need. I shall grant you a day of rest, the following morn shall you accompany myself to our Thane. I must tell you master Goldvein that my Thane is very different then most. He is the head of our church and Dumathoin has chosen a great man. No other Thane also holds a priesthood and it is considered an honor to be chosen for either, thus amongst his brethren is he considered twice blessed."

"Do not overly worry yourself of offending him or seeming to ask something you do not understand. He is benevolent and wise, granting his service and advice to all, no matter their status nor station," as she realized that she had gotten a bit ahead she slowed to ease your travel.

"I have heard of your duties, but what of your clan? Your ancestors? Tell me of whence you came, that I might know more of you?"

Fly by Knight
08-24-2009, 02:35 PM
Ferous watches with amazement as the Orecutter disapears into the rock. Once gone, Ferous reaches for the rock. He is interupted,

"Ahem"

With a slight startle, the Dwarf is brought back to the present, and the new companion he has so thankfully aquired.

As Ferous follows Dolastr through the tunnels, he again falls into a now strangely well worn habit of staring straight ahead and watching the seemingly never ending walls pass. It's quite intoxicating, and it allowed him to pass days without even a hope for making it out.

He enjoys the different melodies in Dolastr's voice as she explains things to him through the tunnels, much like a song that not all of the words are understood, yet it holds your attention. He mentally stumbles when she asks him of his family and himself. While many want to know his duty, or job, or where he has served, no one has asked of his family.

"M, my family? Well, um, lets see. I come from a line of miners. My fathers, fathers, father mined many tunnels and many ore. I know nothing of them personally and only know of up to my Grandfather's name. Day in and day out, my family has mined these corridors for over 4 generations, spanning many a dwarf lifetime. My mother and father scrape by, not caring of politics, religion, or the latest concerns. They work themselves to a point of zombie like exhaustion every day, all for Thane Sven Shieldstar the Robust. They concern themselves that the job is done, not of other things."

"Does that make sense mum?"

Ferous is greeted with a "mmm"

My Grandfathers name is Sact, and my Grandmothers name is Freida.
My Fathers name is Sactum and my mothers name is Fabra

My father has always told me, that the name "Goldvein" is a very deep name, deep as the tunnels we dig and the ore we extract.

Me? I look to help them or at least my future young ones move past the existence of constant toil. While my people are truly the backbone of our race, it aches me to see them toil even still. My grandparents, ancient as they are, still toil in the mines, breathing the dust and swinging the hammer. It makes them strong and weak at the same time.

What of you my fair Dolastr, tell me of you and yours."

All during the walk, Dolastr can hear the faint humming of music coming from Ferous. The same music she heard while following him. It moved with the pace of his walk and the sound of his breaths were almost a beat of the drum. She knew of this as an old soldiers trick to take the mind off of the troubles of the march and allow for faster walking.

She knows, he will need the recovery time before meeting her master.

mnemenoi
08-24-2009, 08:01 PM
She listened intently to your words, seeming to ponder them before giving a quick reply. In just the span you had known her she rarely ever responded quickly. She seemed apt to consider even the most common question with an air of consideration.

"I know of Sact the Smeller and of Sactum the Quick. They are regarded amongst their fellow's as both wise and very learned. They have received respect and the stone sings to them. Even amongst my own folk their skills are regarded as superb. I would certainly not state that they toil for nothing, nor that they have nothing to show for their diligence. They have respect and are honorable which many never attain," as she slows a bit allowing you both to take a few minutes to speak.

"My family is not very large either. We are actually quite weak amongst my clan, though our name does bear some weight. Amongst the Duergar we are separated into three approximate clans, though there are a few that are outside them. I hail from the Vyrn clan. We are often referred to as the watchful eyes. Most of my clan are involved within the Fraternal Order of the Eye and the Hand, though they are spread among many others. My parents were Azin the red and Bazdrid the younger. They were accomplished solvers that rose high in their guild. Their parents were Azgrim the third and Deis, while my father's parents were Gargur and Moriff. It has always been our tradition to run, to be the eyes of our culture. My grandfather spoke of it being our way even when we returned from our bondage. He was very learned and he spoke of your blood often. I remember a story of a collapse that a Goldvein freed many whom were thought dead. He spoke of your strength and your perseverance," her mind drifting back to his tales in her youth.

Her eyes immediately shift back to you, "I can see the same within you as well."

"We are a steadfast folk that take great pride in our professions, such is our way. I do know of your feelings though, for I was called unto another path. I answered the call of the Secret Lord early and many did not understand. The Verbain have always spoken to him alone, it is just our way. Osk understood and took me on as an apprentice though my family had little they could barter with. I have done my very best, but even now do my own kind regard me strangely. They trust the one I serve, but my role as his servant confuses them. It might pass with time, but we are a stubborn people and I doubt that it will ever change. I have accepted this as my own stone to bear," she has little emotion as she looks at you for your reply.

Fly by Knight
08-24-2009, 10:23 PM
As her pace slows, Ferous quickly closes, slowing only feet from her. She senses his pattern and slowly increases her pace to allow a steady, more manageable march.

Ferous listens to her intently, as he swears every time this woman speaks, he has a new revelation about himself and his family.

“It seems we are not so different, Dolastr Vyrn Garnet, you and I. Verily, every time you speak, it is though a revelation grabs me by the…, well throat”

Dolastr smirks, with her back to him.

“Mum, you say your familiar with my family name and possibly my father and grandfather, you speak of a storied past involving my blood, yet I know none of this.”

Dolastr walks several paces before she realizes that she can no longer sense Ferous, she turns, to see that he has stopped, staring into the ether. She turns and approaches him, not bothering to see what it is he looks upon.

“The look upon my father’s face when I told him of my intentions…I wonder if he had hoped all along that I would strike out on my own.”

Ferous takes a deep breath.

“It has been 3 years since I have looked upon my family, and much longer since I have spoke of them.”

“Be careful mum, you may get me to believe that I’m chosen yet.”

The two walk further, and she speaks of her family.

“Your family sounds not so different than mine. They sacrifice for you, and you sacrifice for them…and yourself. The lessons learned from my family allowed me to specialize with this axe and shield quickly….”

“For your family to entrust Thane Osk Verbain with their precious daughter and blood, even against what is acceptable to the masses, speaks volumes of this great leader. Your stone..mum, is not only your stone, but the stone of your blood. Just as I have learned that this axe, is the axe of my blood. Look you at me!”

She was already looking at him, but looked into his eyes as he spoke with more force.

“The stone you bear is more precious than the stone you wear, know you that. I’m not an educated man, but I know a jewel when I see it Dolastr. I am truly thankful for your agreeing to introduce me to this great man. “

He was very intense at this moment. Dolastr begins to weigh her words, careful not to belittle his passion, yet intending to bring him to focus. He was severely exhausted and was showing signs of it.

mnemenoi
08-25-2009, 02:29 PM
"We Duergar toil along with many in the deep places of the stead. It is thus how we know of your family. Many here hold them in regard," as she looks into his eyes. Even being deprived of light her eyes glow red in your heat vision. It is the easiest way to differ between them and the other dwarves of the stead.

"We are nearing the Arch of Holmkell," as she cautiously continued forward. "It is a sacred place and one few outside of Dumathoin's servants know of."

She made a few more turns before you both stood facing what appeared to be an solid stone wall from which a natural arch of stone emerged. You had passed this a few times, but beyond the stone arch it appeared as all the other myriad of tunnels and mining shafts that inundated this region.

"Behold the Arch of Holmkell," as she struck her flint and steel igniting a torch.

What had appeared as stone, now glistened in dark rich blues and greens. The arch itself appeared to be comprised of Malachite mixed with a variety of crystals. The arch was easily ten feet wide and covered a span of a hundred feet. No doorway appeared to be present at all.

Fly by Knight
08-25-2009, 02:58 PM
Ferous follows her toward the arch, staring at the black wall. Stopping when she does.

"It will be an honor then."

Dolastr strikes her torch, causing both she and Ferous to momenarily flinch from the bright light.

As Ferous allows his eyes to adjust he looks with wonder at the site.

"Silverbeard's whiskers, that is huge! What possibly would pass through that?"

"The malechite is of a rare type, see how it almost reflects gold?" "Very impressive".

Ferous takes a small step forward and stops. He looks to Dolastr, "What now mum?"

mnemenoi
08-26-2009, 12:56 PM
"We pass through it," as she murmurs something under her breath and rubs the emerald that had been partially obscured before. In the torchlight you can now make out more of her features, which your heat vision could not make out. Her skin is the color of aged polished marble and her gray hair is braided disappearing into the hood of her cloak. She has no beard, nor a hint of hair upon her face which is certainly something that differs them from your other kin. Her facial features are gaunt and her appearance being almost malnourished though from what little interaction you have had with those few others seems to be another distinct difference as well.

She slowly reaches out to caress the stone. At her touch the gems and glint of the stones becomes sharp, the colors deep and rich as if calling you to them. A serene feeling of compassion for all your fellow shield dwarves pervades your mind. You have a difficult time speaking and can only whisper quietly.

She smiles at you when she finishes. Her looks are quite chiseled, yet her eyes are the softest blue you have ever seen. She holds out her hand for you, suggesting she might help in your passage through the arch. It seems that this event has some significance to her due to her solemnity.

Fly by Knight
08-26-2009, 02:26 PM
Ferous, doing his best to hide any trepidation, mirrors Dolastr's smile and extends his hand.

Stepping forward, first he looks for a long moment at her and her eyes. "How have they kept beauties like this a secret?" He thinks.

He then takes a deep breath and looks what lies beyond the gate.

mnemenoi
08-26-2009, 07:04 PM
The rough stone wall does not appear any different, but a sense of calm and trust settles over you as you take her small hand in yours. She begins to slowly step toward the stone wall as she whispers to you, "Close your eyes, it will be much easier."

You feel a sensation as if you had grasped a lodestone and your hairs all stand on end. A wave of nauseousness overwhelms you accompanied by a slight vertigo. As your senses come back you glimpse your immediate surroundings. You are in a vast chamber its height stretching far into the dark. As your eyes slowly adjust to the absence of light, Dolastr's eyes again return to their blazing red. Around you both lie numerous cold mounds that rise to your chin. It is only as your eyes adjust that you realize that they are crypts.

"Are you alright?" Dolastr asks with a hint of concern.

Fly by Knight
08-26-2009, 09:14 PM
As the sensation ripples through Ferous, he can feel his beard bristle up. At first he jumps then relaxes, as he realizes he is fine.

Looking about, he is once again in the familiar surroundings of the dark. He looks to the mounds, and upon realizing they are crypts, he feels that he understands the solemn nature that Dolastr assumed.

"Aye, I'm fine. Is this a resting place of kings?"

He looks about, wondering what truly surrounds him.

mnemenoi
08-27-2009, 02:14 PM
"This is the resting place of the Atticahammer, Watchever and Bucklebar clans. We maintain and watch many of these throughout this region, each separated into a few clans. Many great dwarves do lie here, though the hall of the Blackalbryn's is kept hidden from all but ourselves and the royal family. We honor the dead here and maintain their eternal sleep," as she starts to maneuver about the tombs.

"Be wary and follow me closely," as she picks her way around the crypts headed toward what appears as a great set of stone doors that seem to mark the exit to the tomb.

As she approaches the stone doors, she whispers a prayer to Dumathoin and quietly opens the massive stone door with but a slight push. It opens easily, a testament to the skill of the mason's that constructed it. As the door opens light again can be seen, yet it is far in the distance. The dancing light creates shadows and fissures in the rough cavern wall in which you emerge. You do not recognize the area immediately.

"Please follow me," as she shuts the stone door reverently. She begins walking toward the growing light that appears to emanate in a larger room in the distance. As your eyes shift back into the visible spectrum she again returns to her natural shade, her blue eyes capturing yours for but an instant.

Fly by Knight
08-27-2009, 07:29 PM
Doing as he was bid, Ferous follows Dolastr through the crypt, stopping when she does to address the next door.

"Have we entered another plane Dolastr?" "What was that sensation as we passed the arch?"

Ferous continues to follow his guide closely, continually looking about, and continually thinking of what to say to the great Thane that he is destined to meet.

mnemenoi
08-27-2009, 08:19 PM
"The sensation was of traversing Dumathoin's gauntlet. It was a barrier that has always been, but only those chosen by the Lord of Secrets may pass. Had you not possessed his favor..." leaving it up to your imagination. She continues down the rough hallway toward the sputtering light walking beside you and speaking in hushed tones. "Do not worry yourself of what might have been, you are well and now I am certain."

The hall emerges into a large expansive cavern that is lined throughout with numerous crude tunnels that branch off of the superstructure. It is nothing compared to the main cavern of Uerythtar, but is impressive. Some small and crude dwellings are scattered across the floor and very old paths weave amongst the dwellings. The few lamps and torches are far scattered and seem only there to provide more shadows and minimal light as they sputter.

You can see only a few dwarves that move along the paths and all seem to be duergar from their appearance. They all are very guant and seem to have on very shabby clothing. You have only seen a few of the upper clans that are comparable and those are amongst the poorest.

Your attention is broken as a small group of young duergar emerge from an alley and dash silently across the pathway. They seem to be chasing another in some sort of game though you do not remember playing anything similar as a child. The children wear little more then loincloths and have not bathed in quite some time.

"Welcome to our clanhold, my home lies but a bit to the left," as she points into the distance.

Fly by Knight
08-27-2009, 08:54 PM
Ferous, listens to his companion, as he did before. Enjoying the melodies of her accented speak. He smiles to himself, as he is beginning to relax and enjoy the feeling of well being that has infected his psyche.

He doesn't even move his hand to his axe, as the children move across the street rapidly. Memories of his childhood come rushing back. Memories that do not include playing games, but working in the tunnels with his family. As long as Ferous can remember, he has toiled in the tunnels. Toiled for his family and his duty, whether it be with a hammer, or an axe.

Ferous takes a deep breath, taking in the surrounding smells of earth and this clan hold.

The dwellings remind him of the small conclaves of miners and merchants that make up the social structure of these tunnels. While they are different, they are not alien. He enjoys the light, as it allows him to once again see his companion with the bright colors of darkness lifted, and to enjoy her blue eyes.

Sleep deprivation and his close encounter with death has made Ferous drift from truth and untruth, reality and the veil of dreams. He believes the position he's in, only because Dolastr has told him so. Soon, he will have to rest, or he will have no command of where he will collapse for a deep slumber.

As Dolastr points out where her home is, Ferous smiles, and quietly recites the songs he knows, bending the words to force his mind to be active. Soon he knows he will face not only her family, but a great man.

Will he be up for the task?

"Does your family live here mum?"

mnemenoi
08-28-2009, 12:34 PM
"Yes, my family does dwell here. Very few of our kind dwell elsewhere in the stead. Once we were yet another branch of the shield dwarves, but it seems that our isolation and imprisonment have clouded that fact. Perhaps one day that will change, but I do not believe it likely," with a slight grin and nod.

"Come let us find my home that you might recover some and enjoy a bed," as she sets off amongst the crumbling buildings. Your trek is not long, but you are able to get some sense that the poverty here is quite common. Many never consider the gray dwarves when dictating policies and with only a solitary Thane they have difficulty on providing for their people. That is not to say that they are enslaved or maltreated, it is apathy that is their plight and it can be much more cruel.

You approach a stone door that leads into a small building. She approaches and opens it without unlocking it. She holds the door for you and quietly closes it behind you. The building consists of two rooms, one bedroom and a larger communal room. Little adorns the walls, though written upon the walls is some very ancient dethek script that is very old indeed.

"Welcome to my home Master Goldvein. Please make yourself comfortable and I will see about acquiring us something to eat," as she opens a cabinet that reveals a tap and keg. She draws forth two large mugs and begins filling them with a dark and cloudy stout that has an acrid black foam.

Fly by Knight
08-28-2009, 12:57 PM
Looking about the home, he begins to feel himself winding down. There is so much to talk about and find out, but his fatigue is beginning to bear heavily upon him.

He sets his shield down near the door, as it begins to feel as though it's weight has trippled. Pulling his balderik off and hanging it on a hanger close to the shield.

His quite aged armor is in bad need of oil, as the extreme dry conditions of the tunnels take their toll on the leather. As he has always understood that this is why Dwarves wear chain or plate armor. Alas, he has never had the money to afford it.

Ferous steps up to the Dethek writing, though he cannot read it. He imagines the sounds of it, much like the sounds of Dolastr's voice, music to his ears.

Ferous looks over and sees the ale being poured, and happily claps his hands. A broad smile grows upon his face as his expectation of ale was almost none. Dolastr is startled slightly, though doesn't spill a drop.

She looks upon her guest as she turns with the mug, his eyes are quite glazed over and his long red beard is matted and tangled. He smells of oil, dirt, filth, and sweat. He will need to bathe before he meets her master, not that her master would care, but Ferous will. She looks at his armor, so worn and dry, it must be over a decade old, and his helmet squeaks at it's hinge, also easily a decade old. His shield is red with a single diagonal line across that must have been gold at one time. She smiles at him as he is so overjoyed to drink her ale.

Ferous drinks the stout without even smelling it. While the taste is more bitter than his usual, it is good all the same.

"Did you write these runes upon the wall mum? What do they say?"

mnemenoi
08-28-2009, 05:51 PM
She draws a deep drought of stout with some foam remaining on her upper lip as she moves to where you stand.

"Nay my friend, it is old indeed. It is an old tale passed down by my blood. It was composed by Anthic the champion of our folk. It speaks of where we are from and what challenges we have faced to get where we are now. It is something that all our kin share, no matter what their religious preference," as she herself looks it over. "When my kin first came to this fair city they wrote it down and although my clan has grown they have kept it here. I was honored to have been granted this home. It is old, but I can feel the good will that will always reside here. Beronar has seen to that," as she smiles openly.

"It speaks of what was," as she takes another drink. "Of Deep Shanatar and of the First great age. Once there were eight of the mighty clans and they did construct a great throne of skulls. It was an age of kinship and expansion of greatness for our folk. We were besieged there by a dark and evil force. We occupied the caverns of Barakuir that lay East of the other holds. The war took many years and countless losses before the combined armies of the high thane were able to stem the tide of battle and eject them from Shanatar. It was only after that they found our clan's hold empty and its citizens gone. Long was it thought that we were no more, a casualty of the Mindstalker war, as it became known. Unbeknowest to the others we had not all been lost though. These creatures had taken most of the clan back to their subterranean city of Oryndall and there they enslaved us. We were bred as servants and fodder for their insidious culture. It was a dark time for us and one we have burned into us from an early age."

She pauses to take another sip and offer to fill your tankard before continuing, "I make it myself, though I am fond of a few of the Verbain brews as well. I myself prefer more hops, but to each their own," as she returns with your tankard again brimming.

"They did atrocities upon my kin that are unspeakable, but in so doing they forged their own downfall. They had imbued some part of their sorcery upon my kin and we had kept this well hidden. We gathered what we could and prepared for a time when we could flee them. It was then that our dark brother appeared amongst us. He had never left as had some of the others and he had been twisted as had many of my kin. I understand their torment and know well the rage they must certainly feel," in explanation of her people and culture.

"We rose and did war upon our captors and although heavily decimated we did secure our freedom from that accursed place. We fled into the dark with nothing and wandered for many centuries. Many whom lead would not return to our long lost cousins on the surface. Their pride had become large and returning in poverty was unfathomable. I often wonder if they blamed them for never seeking them out as well, though it is my own opinion and little more. Well, some did seek out and rejoin our cousins while others choose to remain in that darkened land," as she finished the tale.

"That is what lay upon the wall you see, it is sacred to us as it is our history. It shapes us and makes us different then our cousins. Most know little of why we are apart and separate. Now that you have heard it what do you think of the tale?" she asks as you drink from your tankard.

Fly by Knight
08-28-2009, 10:02 PM
The first drink of ale by Ferous, was also the last in the mug he was presented, for even though he did have plenty of water, his thirst still was not fully quenched.

Listening to her story fully enthralled him, as he was now within a slight dream state as it were anyways. Her melodic voice drew him into the tale, to where he could actually feel and see her story.

As Dolastr fills his mug again, he barely acknowledges the fact that she refilled it, instead, he sees the visions of her people.

As she finishes her story, she looks again at him, and once again he has drained his mug. His facial features look different as he is experiencing something from within. She has learned much of him since gaining his aquaintence, while he is not a verbose Dwarf, he is a passionate one. She admires his sensitivity to the ancient presence of this home and of this stead, very few of her own folk fully feel the power of this story.

As she completes her story and fills his mug again, he looks to her very briefly, before taking his free hand, and wiping his eyes and rubbing his nose.

He takes a deep breath, then another, "The magic of this place is strong, as it is in you." "You have been given a great honor to live here, as you said".

"Can I touch the words? The sing to me, like you do. When you tell the story, the words pulse and dance, showing me the story as you tell it."

"This ale is very good, and you make it your self? A woman of may talents you are mum."

Ferous releases a might belch, making his eyes water. They both laugh, and Ferous moves closer to her.

"Can I touch the words?"

mnemenoi
08-29-2009, 12:49 PM
"Of course, they are only words. It is the tale that makes it strong. Knowing my blood went through those tribulations makes any challenge I face seem weak in comparison," as she laughs.

Their is a slight knock upon the door and Dolastyr glides toward it, allowing you to inspect the Dethek. She opens the door with a slight push and reveals a very elderly dwarven matron. In her hands she holds a large iron pot. Although the lid is on it, the smell infuses the room wafting upon the subterranean breeze. She nods and speaks in a language you are not familiar with to the elderly dwarven woman. She replies in the same tongue before she departs. Dolastyr closes the door and sets the pot upon a counter.

"Dinner has arrived," as she opens a cabinet and retrieves two crude ceramic bowls.

Fly by Knight
08-29-2009, 11:10 PM
Running his hands along the ancient words has no effect, as Dolastyr pointed out. Ferous is slightly disapointed, as he was sure the source of this magic was the ancient power in these words.

He takes a deep breath, smells the food, and is instantly torn from any thoughts of the writing.

He smiles at the woman delivering the pot, waves as she leaves, and rubs his hands together as she sets the food upon the counter.

Dolastyr motions for Ferous to take a seat at a small crude table as she places the bowls down upon it.

The food is a stew, made from a sort of meat that Ferous cannot place, along with some small vegetables and broth. Dolastyr dishes some for Ferous and then for herself. Then sits.

Ferous picks up his spoon, dips it into the stew and stops. Dolastyr has not moved, she has closed her eyes smiling. A short silence ensues, ending when she opens her eyes "Eat, what are you waiting for?"

Ferous eats two bowls of the food, and another mug of the ale that she made.

They laugh a bit, talking of trivial things while they eat. When Dolastyr gathers the bowls and moves them to the counter, she hears Ferous snoring loudly.

She turns to see him head down on the table, resting on his hands. She tries to wake him, for she has full intentions on him taking the bed. His slumber is already deep, so deep, that she feared pushing off of the chair if she shook him any harder.

With that, she grabs a blanket and covers him, blows out the candles, and retires.

mnemenoi
08-31-2009, 07:42 PM
You awaken to the smell of bacon and fresh baked bread. You feel surprisingly well rested and although a bit shaken at your surroundings at first you remember where you are after shaking the sleep loose from your head. You realize that you are on a makeshift mattress of blankets and a woolen pillow. From your position you can see Dolastyr humming quietly as she stands back inspecting something from the far side of the room.

Laid out near you is your leathers and they gleam brightly in the low candle light. They glisten with oils and polish, the dust and grime buffed away. You don't remember them ever looking so nice before. You can smell the faint hint of the mink oil now that you think about it.

Dolastyr appears to be gauging some unseen item that is behind a table. At your stirring she glances over at you and laughs a bit.

"Good morning, I had feared you might sleep for two full days. I hope you are not offended, but I took the honor of finishing your leathers and polishing your equipment. Your shield needed some work though, I have just finished so it will require some time to dry properly," as she realized exactly how much work she had actually done.

"I have some bacon and cider here for you," as she went for a plate.

Fly by Knight
08-31-2009, 09:23 PM
Ferous sits up smiling at Dolastyr, and clears his throat of the sleep.

"Grammarcy mum, you are too kind to me...My armor looks better than when I aquired it 20 years ago."

"I believe I slept more sound than I have in...well, as long as I can remember. I expected to dream, dream of your people, I didn't dream at all. The last thing I remember was us conversing, then I awoke here."

Ferous looks around the room and at his beddings as if it were the first time he had seen them, qickly checking to see if he was clothed, and he was.

"That smells wonderful, I mean really good mum."

"Is that my shield you are working with there?" At that moment, Ferous looks to where he had left his weapons and shield.

mnemenoi
09-01-2009, 07:29 PM
Your shield is indeed missing, but your hand axe gleams in the candlelight. The rest of your belongings are neatly stacked next to it.

Dolastyr assembles a plate for you and brings it over with your cider. "Please, eat first and then you can inspect your shield. I apologize for not asking first, it was a great honor of mine. Your family is afforded great respect amongst my people and my faith. I would have dishonored their legacy if I had not done what I could for their blood," as she hands you your plate.

"I have asked for some warm water for bathing. It should be here shortly. There are some new linens in the other room, but I'm not certain if they'll fit properly," as she smiles weakly.

Fly by Knight
09-01-2009, 07:42 PM
Ferous stands, stretches, and scratches his chin under his thick red beard.

"That smells great!"

Ferous sits and begins to eat the bacon, using the bread to sop up the grease. Barely slowing his chewing so he can talk.

Smiling broadly "Dolastr, you are probably the only person I would allow to do such a thing. You do what you feel is fit. I trust you."

Chew, chew, chew.

"All of my tools haven't looked this good since I stood inspection over a year ago. My armor looks better than when I bought it."

Ferous looks to the room where the tub is, and laughs silently.

"Are you sure that tub is ready, I hope all of my pets die quickly, I've become close to all of my flees."

Ferous laughs heartily, something she has yet to hear from him.

A long draw on the cider.

"Seriously though, I look forward to seeing your work mum, and I look forward to meeting Thane Osk."

With that, Ferous finishes his bread by sopping up the grease and inhaling it.

mnemenoi
09-01-2009, 08:07 PM
You stand and collect yourself as she leads you over to the shield that rests against the wall. As you approach you can see some various different paints and oils that she must have used as well as a mortar and pestle. there are faint remnants of gold lammele and crushed stones of a deep red hue in various bowls.

The shield is a brilliant deep ruby with a glistening luster of mineral that seems to shimmer in the light. The border is rimmed with a black trim that showcases and defines the other shades. The diagonal band is again gold, though you suspect that it is real this time and much thicker the previously. As you peer more closely at it the faint flow of deeper reds permeate the solid background.

She grips her hands in anticipation, "I do hope you like it..."

Fly by Knight
09-01-2009, 11:30 PM
Ferous is smiling at first as he aproaches her work area. He awaits in anticipation to see the work that Dolastr has performed.

As she holds it up, he slowly changes from a smile, to his mouth being agape. His eyes grow wider then almost to a squint.

Dolastr is so excited to see his expression, she is floored to see his expression. She does not know how to read it. Is it fear, is it surprise, is it disgust? She begins to feel her chin quiver, as it meant so much to her to give him this gift.

Ferous' breath becomes a bit waivery "Mum, Dolastr....Um, this is amazing. How did you, I mean... I dont know what to say."

Dolastr's eyes well slightly.

Ferous moves forward, and takes the shield holding it up. The colors shine through in layers, much like liquid. It reminds him of the liquid earth, and he smiles immensely.

"No one has ever given me such a thing, nothing ever has compared to this! I dont know what to say!"

Dolastr can now feel the heat in her face, as she feels herself smile.

Ferous lays down the shield and moves quickly to embrace her. She is surprised, almost pushing away, then allows it. She feels warm tears on her face.

Ferous releases her from the strong hug but still holds her arms. Looks her in the eyes "You are the most generous being I have ever known, or known of. Thank you for everything you have done for me mum. The shield is beautiful, my grandfather would shed a tear looking at that shield."

She finds herself a bit embarassed, and looks away.

"Look you to me" She does "Thank you Dolastr, thank you."

A slight awkward time passes where they just stare at each other, smiling. A bit of warmth is felt between them, then they both look away.

Ferous picks up the shield, looks to her and smiles again.

mnemenoi
09-03-2009, 10:38 AM
"I am pleased that you like it," as she smiles. "We must soon depart for your meeting though," as she seems to change the subject. They were from very different social groups and tradition must always be considered. She had found this man very interesting and could only guess what lay in store for him.

"Your clothing lies in the other room and your bath should be warm still. I shall return shortly after you have bathed and dressed, I have some chores that need attending to." She gathers a small sack of various pungent smelling herbs and fungi and makes her way to the door.

Her demeanor had shifted slightly, but as she opens the door her soft smile is again on her face. "I am very glad you liked it," as she hurries out of the door.

Fly by Knight
09-03-2009, 11:04 AM
Ferous watches her depart and looks at his shield. Smiles to himself, and looks back at the closed door.

"I think she likes me..maybe."

Ferous has had very little exposure to the fairer sex. Save the few visits to town that he is afforded, and the female millitia, well fraternization is discouraged.

Ferous walks to the tub, disrobes, and eases into the water. It has been a long time since he sat in a warm tub. Years possibly.

He picks up the soap and looks at it, "She definately likes me...maybe".

After his bath, Ferous combs out his beard and hair with a comb provided by Dolastyr. It takes some time.

Finally, Ferous kits up, puting all of his now fresh smelling armor on.

"Hmm, she even fixed the squeek in my nose guard."

He walks over and picks up his shield, extends the strap and hefts it onto his back.

He walks into the main room, and once again looks upon the words that spoke to him last night. Runs his fingers along them.

"Perhaps my future just might lie with service to this Thane, it just might."

mnemenoi
09-04-2009, 07:40 AM
Their is a slight knock at the door, followed by Dolastyr peeking her head in to make certain you are dressed. She again carries the small sack of herbs, though a bit less filled then previously.

"I have an ale that needs me attention nearly daily," in response to the assumed question. "I think I might even try and get it into the competition, though its been some time since a bitter ale won. I like it as do a few others, but I guess its more of an acquired taste," as she returns the sack to a dry and dark cabinet. The acrid smell permeates the air around the cabinet and you can put a name to the smell you noticed when you first entered the home.

"You look very nice and smell much better. I am ready to leave whenever you are ready," as she begins collecting a few of the various things she will be needing.

Fly by Knight
09-04-2009, 09:19 AM
"Um, I'm ready too mum".

The reality of the situation is beginning to slap Ferous in the face. He is going to meet a Thane and head of the local religion, and a very powerful man. What could he possibly have to offer him? What could he bring to the table that would hold his attention longer than two minutes. Well, perhaps its best to be over fast...

Dolastr gathers up some of her things and can here him mumbling very quietly. She looks to him, and sees he is once again staring into the ether, almost like he is so hungry that he cannot focus. His lips move slightly, and his color has drained from his face.

"Ferous, what is it that troubles you?"

"Mum, would it be too much trouble for me to have a couple pints of that ale?"

She reads immediately into what is bothering him. Despite her explaining he has yet to understand how good and patient her master truly is. Ferous is from another class, and another society. His class has been told time and again that royalty or a chieftan is so great that they border imortality. Why wouldnt he be nervous? She is not sure how to relate to him or his feelings of alienation, all she can do is offer her well wishes and try to help guide him through what to him is a quite traumatic experience.

"Of course you can." She lays down her belongins and poors a mug of ale. To which, he downs without breathing. She poors another, and he follows in the same way. Ferous roars a belch and sets down the mug. His eyes watering from the belch, "Mum, what do I even call him when we speak?" "What is the proper title?"

She smiles "Thane, that is his title Ferous. He too is a high priest but in this regard, calling him Thane would be apropriate."

"Thane, okay, I can do that."

Ferous hands the mug to her and she places it on the counter where dirty dishes go, then gathers her belongings again.

She opens the door and Ferous steps out then she closes the door.

They begin walking together, and she can hear him mumbling. She purposely doesn't look at him, as they walk. She just smiles at some Dwarves that pass by them, looking at him, then her.

mnemenoi
09-08-2009, 12:09 PM
Your walk throughout the Duergar clanhold attracts notice, with cast eyes and whispered conversation marking your passage. You see no other shield dwarves here and would surmise your presence is an oddity to say the least. The homes seem small and unadorned when compared to your own clanhold. They had always occupied some of the lowest levels and faced the Derro much more fully then the upper clanholds. You still notice signs of those dark times in scorched areas and broken rubble.

As you approach the temple, its rough hewn appearance stands in stark contrast to the finely built temples of Moradin and Clangeddin above. The beauty of the stone structure speaks of the awe all dwarves find in nature.

You enter shortly behind Dolastyr and she guides you toward the rear and the natural formations that serve as housing for the priests. The small handful of parishioners whisper to the faithful priests. You see no other females within the temple and begin to wonder just what tribulations Dolastyr faced in joining.

She hurries you forward to a crevice and from within you can hear voices, but can not recognize any of them. She motions for you to wait here while she goes in to announce you.

Fly by Knight
09-08-2009, 02:14 PM
While walking through the clanhold, Ferous is beginning to feel the sweat on his back, and on his hands.

He whispers to himself: "Thane Osk, I am Ferous Goldvein, I have come to thank you for saving my life through your most thorough and powerful servant Dolastyr"

"I need to mention her, as she has helped me so much"

Thane Osk, ....

he whispers over and over.

As she leaves him at the entrance, he begins to feel a bit queezy, and the thought of calling this off completely crosses his mind. Instead he takes several deep breaths, and hopes it will be over soon.

mnemenoi
09-16-2009, 08:20 PM
From further in the cavern you can hear some voices, though they are distorted and broken. The time lingers and your nervousness only seems to increase. The tunnel is dark and sparsely lit, but shortly the figure of Dolastyr comes back into view.

She appears a bit confused, "Osk Verbain has summoned you. He does have some guests as well," as she ushers you down the cavern entrance. "One's a noble I have never met and the other is the High Priest of Vergadain, Orin Garrick. I confess I know little of him though," in very quiet whispers as she tries to tell you what she knows before you enter the chamber itself.

"Good luck, I'll announce you and be next to you though," as she pats his shoulder reaffirmingly.

*Moving to "To Seek a Thane" thread