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Thread: Something amiss (Illethkeep - Dalana Jundeth)

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    Something amiss (Illethkeep - Dalana Jundeth)

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    A cold morning wind cuts through the vale that holds the battlements and massive stone doors marking the Drakonomís fortification, known as Illethkeep. It stands in a perpetual state of awareness, dwarven sharpshooters and military units in a perpetual state of patrolling. The sounds of training can be heard within some of the interior areas and the occasional small boulder being jettisoned into a nearby ridge suggests the engineers are scheduled again today.

    Very few dwell her that are not involved directly with the Drakonom. Only the small and nearly extinct church of Vergadain, god of trading, dwelt within the outpost. It had long ago fallen into near obscurity when the dwarves withdrew from the outside world. Only a single clan had maintained their faith, keeping the church alive with what meager parishioners as they could manage. Now that the stead had reopened they were growing in size, looking forward to the trade that was certain to come.

    The fortifications were spotted with dwarves going about their predetermined affairs, seeing to their specific duties in a rote manner. The clang of steel and the occasional smashing boulder being the sole sounds in the valley. Well past the massive stone doors was a large and well crafted tunnel from which one could reach Uerythtar proper. It lie some distance under the mountain and discounting a few random vents on the peaks it was the only way from the surface into or out of the stead itself.

    High upon one of the crenelated stone fortifications sat a sharpshooter, scanning the distance. Of all the dwarven branches, they had the best sight and could notice something from miles into the distance. Very little came and went in these mounts, it was easy to become complacent and assume they alone dwelled within these unforgiving mountains. They were aware that orcish and goblinoid tribes did call this place home, but they were scattered and disorganized, presenting no real threat. Giants occasionally did emerge and twice they had seen an immense dragin in the distance. It was far away and little could be determined, other then it had an immense size and they hoped that it had found a far better hunting ground elsewhere.

    Delana Jundeth stood here for days upon end, serving her stead in what they asked of her. She was one of the best with her crossbow and anyone that knew of the sharpshooters had heard her name. She sat scanning the distance, her eyes looking for anything out of the ordinary. It was then that she noticed the cart and driver. A skinner and delivery man, Dwdal had been sent to deliver supplies to the outpost and watchtower that was located on a nearby peak. He had left Illeth yesterday morning and was not expected back for another day at least. Seeing him on the horizon and seeing the speed he was driving his team of mules suggested that something was wrong. He never travelled at night, nor had any reason to actually drive his mules beyond a crawl in the dangerous mountains and graveled path that lead to the outpost. In the back of your head you knew immediately something was wrong, you had no idea what it was, but something told you that this was different. It would be hours before he made it to Illethkeep proper, but you knew your duties. You begin to signal your superior letting him know that something is wrong....

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    Delana looks towards her superior and signals, letting him know of the quick approaching cart. She skillfully signs that the cart's ETA is 2 hours and she is unable see what causes it's haste. She waits steadily for her orders.
    Mommas can to play games!

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    The cart continues to move quickly across the valley, much quicker then you have ever seen it move before. Your superior officer nods to acknowledge your message. He quickly flashes back to you, 'look closely, what do you see,' or as close an approximation as possible given the uniqueness of the language. It seems there are scattered users of the tongue and each develop their own diverse banter they are familiar with.

    Staring down at the wagon, one thing is immediately apparent and that is the copious supplies on its rear. He must have not delivered them, otherwise you would be certain that it would be empty. You glance quickly toward the outposts direction expecting a column of smoke to be rising in the distance, but nothing mars the sky.

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    Dalana stays put, watching the cart until it is coming into the Illethkeep proper. She kept looking in the direction it came from, but couldn't figure out what had caused its haste. The cart is only minutes away now. Not knowing the source of the trouble she senses is eating at her. She decides to climb down and meet the cart. After she signals her intentions to her superior officer, she heads down to investigate.
    Mommas can to play games!

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    The cart thunders forward as a group of dwarves start collecting around the area seeming to sense that something is amiss.

    Within minutes it comes into view, the driver a dwarf named Agan Rockfist, supplied the local watchtower with some supplies. He had left yesterday and the trip generally took at least 3 days. He was back in less then one and still had his supplies. His mules were heaving as he closed the final distance to the assembled dwarves.

    "The Keep... Something wrong..." in a hoarse breath that sounded dry and parched.

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    "Sound the horn!" barked a ranking officer. Dwarves had helped the skinner from the cart and calmed the panting and bewildered mules. Activity buzzed in the courtyard as young runners were sent into the stead to inform the thanes. For many of these young dwarves this was the closest to battle they had ever been. There was a feeling in the air, something had befallen the watch tower and IllethKeep could be next...

    Whispers and speculation were spreading as the commanders took charge. "Quiet, down!", "Take him to the Master of the Keep!", "Stand in line and assume formations," calls of the officers rang out drowning the mumbled words of the troops. Older soldiers nudging younger troops into submission. The older guard knew battle and and this was far from it. It might be something, but thus far it was but a muleskinner who was a known drunkard. A far cry from a declaration from the Master of the Keep. They would be told soon enough what they needed to know, until then they would ready themselves for what was to come. Many craned their necks toward the distant tower, squinting at the sun. Their on the horizon stood an enemy of them and their families, their keep, and their race. They would rain war upon them soon enough...

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    A ranking officer, with a long beard and a chiseled look walked out into the courtyard and those who were about stopped and took notice. He scanned the crowd, peering for someone in particular. His eyes settled on a newly risen sergeant. He walked over crisply, a certain immediacy in his step. The younger dwarf stood tall as his commander approached.

    "Gather your forces, something has befallen the tower. You are directed to ascertain who has done this and retake the keep if you can. Take some sharpshooters and engineers. The gates might be sealed. You depart within the hour."

    The dwarves around had seen war before, but it was within the keep and lower levels. Nothing above ground. This was a new and unknown challenge, a darkness that had no name. The unknown was far worse then some foe that could be named. The young officer nodded in understanding, his soldiers making ready for leaving. As the older dwarf left, he set about barking orders. This would be the first of many tests in his lifetime and he had no intention of making his first mistake.

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