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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 03:48 PM
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A Mission for the King

Please begin this thread by saying, in as much detail as you like, what you did during the three months between your escape from the Underdark and King Brunor's audience in Gauntlgrym.
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 08:04 PM
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Twig stepped out of the small pocket that he and Aurix have made their home since they first arrived. Twig peeked back in, nodded to Aurix, before he stepped behind the line of young gnomes heading to Burrow Warden training. Twig was wearing his hat, vambrace and greaves, both made from 3 ply longitudinal stripes from a tough mushroom hide, a belt over top of a kilt, made of overlapping sheets from the same hide. A kite shield, with a strap, that hung on his back. On his belt he kept the rod he got from the female drow, a few pouches, and a drow made hand crossbow. Something within one of the pouches wiggled. Twig tapped it gently Sham, quiet. Twig's thoughts drifted back.

It was a few days after arriving that Twig first followed the young gnomes to their training. He decided he wanted to join them but was a bit nervous when he saw that the trainer of these gnomes was the ghost Burrow Warden Jadger. Twig stood tall and fell in line waiting to be removed. The ghost stared at time for a bit but eventually the training began.

It was a wonderful time. Twig got to play with all sorts of weapons. Twig giggled when he could barely lift a few of the bigger weapons; even the miniature size versions of them. A few he excelled at but really didn’t like them. Twig also got to play dress up. He tried on all sorts of armor but not the real heavy ones. In the end he kept some forearm and shin pieces of tough fungus pieces. What Twig really loved was using a shield.

Twig learned how to swing the shield, strapped to his back, forward, slide his forearm in it and hold it out front. Twig worked with many styles but settled on a shield that was wide on the top and then narrowed at the bottom.

Alongside training in the martials Twig learned a few more trickories. One to help out his comrades and another to help himself. Twig practice on moving silently following gnomes and such. This also helped him with his senses.

The best part though was one of the coins they had found was not a coin at all but was a baby mimic. So tiny. Twig fed it many things and it turned out the mimic liked the same food he liked.

Twig shook his head as he came back to the present. As he was about to follow he saw Smudgeon coming towards him with purpose. Twig tilted his head Wonder what Smudgeon wants.

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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 08:19 PM
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Smudgeon Odrum, Bâlfinweg
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Unfortunately, after the former drow prisoners were released into Blingdenstone, Smudgeon wasn't able to house them at his home nor was his Momma able to impress them with her famous Black Ear Fungus Stew.

The caverns where Smudgeon and his family had had lived was blocked and guarded, the area now called "Rockblight" because of an undetermined and deadly haunting. Inquiries revealed that his parents had been murdered by Drow while working their fungus patches in the Cultivation Cave.

His two youngest siblings, a miner brother and Burrow Warden sister, had also been killed in the fighting. Only his older sister, Beryl, was left alive, dwelling with her husband's family in Inner Blingdenstone.

Beryl's inlaws, a branch of the prominent Pickshaw clan, didn't have room to host the escapees, but the generous svirfneblin insisted on putting them all up at the Foaming Mug inn for a while and arranged an elaborate welcome party their second day in town.

In following wakings, accommodation was easily found for the newcomers. First, svirfneblin culture doesn't have a concept of private real estate. Caves are apportioned according to need. Second, many caves were empty after the Drow incursion, even with the Rockblight cavern cut off.

Of course, Smudgeon's dead parents and siblings had been buried in their mushroom patch, as they would have wanted, rather than in the catacombs. In the days following, Beryl and Smudgeon went many times to the Ruby in the Rough, a temple to Segojan Earthcaller, to make offerings and prayers for the souls of their dead and for the health, security, and prosperity of Blingdenstone in the future.

It would have been understandable if Smudgeon wanted revenge on the Drow of Menzoberranzan. And certainly his hatred of them only deepened. Yet as a Druid, he understood that death is part of life. And as a veteran, he understood that duty and unity in the face trouble is more useful than indulging personal emotions. If protecting the svirfneblin of Blingdenstone meant abandoning the city, he would help with an orderly evacuation. If it meant killing every last Drow in Menzoberranzan and its outlying settlements, he would help do that, too. If it meant biting the Demogorgon's balls, he'd be first to volunteer.

So he reenlisted in the Gnomish: Burrow WardensSacthi. Gnomish: High Chief Burrow WardenDâthegor Jadger appointed him a Gnomish: Warrant Officer, literally "worthy person of skill"bâlfinweg, a higher rank than he had retired at, and put him in charge of the Gnomish: healer, medical corpsmentilcaitha training program.

Even after losses to the Drow, there are more skillful healers than Smudgeon in Blingdenstone, both those who heal with knowledge and those who heal with spiritual magic. But there are few better qualified in healing under battlefield conditions, which has its own requirements:

How do you calm a panicking patient when everything is blowing up around you both? How do you care for certain injuries and illnesses when you're out of medical supplies? How do you compound a poison antidote from foraged materials? How do you keep focused on your task when you haven't slept for three cycles and you're under fire?

Jadger rightly judged that Smudgeon was the gnome to teach the recruits how to do the impossible in the midst of chaos and with inadequate supplies and equipment. Or at least, the one to prepare them as much as anyone can be prepared for that kind of hardship. He's just graduated his first class of tilcaitha.

Between his duties and his continuing druidic studies, Smudgeon has been as busy as he's ever been. Yet he's made time to join his fellow escapees at the Foaming Mug whenever he could. He feels as deep a comradeship with them as with the vets he'd served with in his youth.


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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 12:32 PM
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Three months still hadn't been enough for Cyvintha to figure out what to do about Derendil, but she'd achieved an awful lot otherwise.

Studying with Kazook had been as edifying as she'd hoped it would be, and the Gnome seemed sympathetic to her inability to present the promised quantity of gold in return for her training. Fortunately for Cyvintha, the House of Vystaire's creditworthiness was beyond question. Sure, the industrious Svirfneblin would mutter to himself about delays in payment from time to time, but the young noblewoman never got the impression that there was any malice to it. It seemed more like Kazook simply enjoyed having a good moan from time to time.

Cyvintha found herself taking copious notes. These initially concerned alchemical matters almost exclusively, but as time wore on she realized that there were far more things of magical interest around here than just the potions and unguents she had come here to research. For one, the place was filled with ghosts. Beyond that, a number of the Deep Gnomes seemed to have affinities for different types of magic, and Cyvintha's ability to daily produce plenty of wine without the need to even gather ingredients loosened plenty of tongues. Without the pressing need to concentrate on staying alive, even Smudgeon had seemed willing to share a handful of insights into his own brand of natural magic. From workshop to mine to mushroom field, there were plenty of secrets to be plundered. Soon Cyvintha realized that she had the makings of quite the fascinating book. Secrets of the Svirfneblin. Perhaps she would be able to share these secrets, once she had reacquainted herself with daylight.

In truth, by the time the letter had arrived, Cyvintha had been almost ready to make her exit anyway. As she headed toward Smudgeon's home, she found Gnome and Kobolds already in the process of departing. She hoped that the next leg of their journey would be a rather less overwhelming process than the flight from Velkynvelde had proved to be.



 
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 03:30 PM
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Derendil joins the party assembling at Smudgeon's, having spent three months picking up a level of Rogue, that isstudying the practice of stealth. None of the others return, although the twins have surfaced and been seen around town. Buppido, troubled but no longer outright mad, has left Blingdenstone, apparently to return to his own people.

Arriving before the gates of Gauntlgrym, the characters find that Eldeth and Asdoukar have told tales in most taverns of their companions' heroism, as well as in the King's Hall, and dwarf children and some of their elders peer at the characters with curiosity and awe. They are welcomed as the king's guests and escorted into the underground city, through the Vault of Kings and shown to guest quarters. Taking hospitality seriously, the dwarves sent Eldeth, now obviously expecting a child, and Asdoukar, tottering about on a new "Purple worm," is all he sayswooden leg that isn't yet fitted perfectly, to ensure that everyone is offered food, drink, and a chance to refresh themselves, and to look around if they like.
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 05:50 PM
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Smudgeon Odrum, Bâlfinweg
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Smudgeon watched his thegra, Shard, demonstrating to the new cadre of tilcaitha trainees the many ways a square cloth can be folded, rolled, and wrapped as a bandage or brace. From behind, Smudgeon observed the trainees as they followed along with their own cloths to get a sense of who was on the ball, who struggled, and who thought they were too smart to bother and needed to be taught some humility fast or be washed out.

"Bâlfinweg Odrum," said the messenger who came up behind him, a Burrow Warden so young, to Smudgeon's eyes, that he barely had any moldfuzz on his chin. "Dâthegor Jadger wants to see you in his office immediately."

Smudgeon grunted acknowledgement and made his way to the ghost commander's office and stood before his desk, giving a crisp gem salute. "Bâlfinweg Odrum reporting, Dâthegor."

"At ease, Odrum,"
he said. "It seems you have a fan. King Bruenor of Gauntlgrym wants an audience with you and your friends from Velknyvelve, at Gauntlgrym."

"What about? I got a training program to run, one that still ain't up to snuff. I got no time to dance and bat my eyelashes at a king's ball."


"What you've got, Bâlfinweg, is orders. King Bruenor made this request directly to Chief Dorbo. They have an understanding. You're going. Now, I can't order your friends to go as they're civilians, but you might mention to them that Chief Dorbo would consider it a personal favor and a small thank you for the refuge we've given them, if you see what I'm saying. You leave after three sleeps."

"Yessir, Dâthegor. Order's orders. Shard will have his hands full taking over, but at least we got the program roughed out now. He's a good gnome."

Smudgeon sent word to the Velknyvelve crew, inviting them to his officer's quarters for dinner the next waking, a first since they usually hung out at the Foaming Mug. Smudgeon's place was hardly set up for entertaining. Officer now or not, he lived up to the reputation of "bachelor." Fortunately, his sister, Beryl, came over to help out with the cooking and organizing.

After some food, drink, and small talk, he told them of King Bruenor's request to Chief Dorbo, his own orders, and the political reality that it would be in their best interest to do what Chief Dorbo asked. Not that Dorbo would throw them in jail or anything, just that it's best to keep him and his wife, Quartermaster Senni, happy so as to not wear out their welcome in Blingdenstone.

On the second waking, he met them all at the maze entrance to Blingdenstone. Jadger had sent along a Burrow Warden escort party, too, to accompany them halfway to Gauntlgrym, where a dwarf escort would take them the rest of the way. Partly this was for safety and partly for protocol. Fortunately, the neither the drow nor anything else harassed them during the journey.

At the gates of Gauntlgrym, their friends, a one-legged Asdoukar and a pregnant Eldeth, welcomed them, along with a lot of gawkers. Their friends led them to their guest quarters to refresh, with permission to explore if they cared to.

Smudgeon had been in Gauntlgrym many years before when it was a bloody, smoking war zone. He was eager to see how it looked now that it was cleaned up and repaired. "If you're up for hoppin', show me around, Umrai, especially the tavern," he said. "Anyone else coming?"

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Old Sep 1st, 2021, 04:01 PM
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Gauntlgrym is a city carved out of the living rock, with halls and passages wide enough for great dragons to walk through, let alone a party of curious adventurers. From the open, vaulted areas, you can see hundreds of levels reached by twisting stairs, platforms that rise and fall and a system of tracks bearing minecarts. The stonework and the artistry are ancient, lit by driftglobes, phosphorescent fungi and braziers and torches. It's not in perfect condition, but the dwarves are working hard, and soon the city will once more be the jewel of the Underdark. It's not fully occupied, of course, given the small size of the dwarfish party that accompanied Bruenor, but it's getting there; it's definitely getting there. Now and then you see a ghost pass by, on some errand of its own or just marveling at the improvements, but none of them pay you any mind.

You are shone the Iron Tabernacle, where shield dwarf priests are restoring the shrines and altars to bring the ancient center of dwarfish spirituality back to its former state, and the Great Forge where the best of their treasures were made, and lastly the Vault of Kings, where the Great Throne of Moradin stands as the seat of the King.

Seems like most of the locals are living in the Vault, now--it's more than one room, in fact it's a small city, and it's where your chambers are, and where Asdoukar leads you on a raucous pub crawl that ends all too early, since tomorrow you have your audience with the king.

Is there anything in particular that anyone would like to do or to seek out while you're having your tour?
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Old Sep 1st, 2021, 11:02 PM
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Twig was jumping up and down almost the whole trip towards Gauntlgrym. He would often be heard saying A king wants to meet me. A few seconds later he would respond to himself or to somethingOf course King wants to meet me. Me have dragon in me blood.

Twig had his shield hanging off of his left shoulder held there by a strap that ran from the top back part of the shield to the bottom. The shield, with a shrug from his shoulder, would pop forward and Twig would slid his forearm into smaller straps. He would wait a bit and then shift if back onto the back of his left shoulder. The shield partly covered a satchel containing a herbalism kit and a healer's kit he received from the Burrow Warrens. Contained within the bottom of the satchel are two uniforms (actually two sets of clothes that resemble the Warrens uniform but were not official).

His giddiness continued once in the city as the dwarfs all looked at him, not with anger, but curiosity. He yelled out with joy upon seeing Eldeth and Asdoukar. Twig kept glancing at Eldeth as she had gotten fat but wasn't sure if he should say anything. Twig shifted a small coin, Sham his pet baby mimic, from a pouch into a small inner pocket of a small mushroom hide vest as he whispered. Best Sham stay up here. Easier to feed Sham in secret.

Twig, as the group traveled from pub to pub, eyes stared in wonder at the city. As he had never seen anything so incredible.



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Old Sep 2nd, 2021, 11:30 AM
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Cyvintha stirred on her seat. For someone so fascinated by the arts of brewing and distillation, her tolerance for actually drinking alcohol wasn't exactly Dwarflike. "Sho you shay dat dis one isssh made with a thpecial type of fungus only found just outhide Gauntlygrym?" she slurred, her curiosity fighting with her inebriation as she tried to find out more about this absolutely fascinating liquor. Luckily for Cyvintha, she was too drunk to notice how bored the barkeep appeared to be, though the constant drip of tips (fueled by the party's frankly excessive pile of copper pieces) kept him talking for now.

Earlier in the day, the noble Elf had been a lot more articulate, but no less irritating, during the tour. She'd mostly managed to restrain herself at the Iron Tabernacle, due to a combination of respect for the Dwarves' religion and being largely disinterested by it. The metaphorical shackles were off, though, by the time they reached the Great Forge. Cyvintha just loved knowing how things worked, a passion the poor tour guide was all to aware of by roughly the seventh question on the specific mechanics of one or other large metallic device.

Now, as Cyvintha noticed her formerly-furry prince approaching, she sensed it was time to head back to quarters. The woman protested a little, but she retained just about enough awareness to know things were going to get messy if she tried to imbibe any more. Besides, as luck would have it she had prepared a very specific potion back in her chamber, that she was very much in need of, and soon.



 
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Old Sep 2nd, 2021, 12:39 PM
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Smudgeon greatly appreciates the pub crawl. For one thing, he's been working hard and staying (mostly) sober for months. For another, he was on edge the entire trip between Blingdenstone and Gauntlgrym, the fear of being recaptured or running into the Demogorgon nibbling away his ease. But most of all, he thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Asdoukar and seeing the rebirth of the city they had both fought so hard to recapture.

At one point in the evening, he does try to get a preview from Asdoukar. "What's this all about then, Umrai? What does King Bruenor want with us? My guess is it ain't to feed us cake."

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Old Sep 2nd, 2021, 03:17 PM
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This place wasn't very much like the Braeryn, or even Eastmyr, the districts of the City where he had lived, before. But it felt more like a city than Blingdenstone, which had seemed more of a ruin. Despite his curiosity, cities made Saav nervous. They were a place where you had to watch your step, watch your back, always. Drunk people made it worse. He hadn't seen any gangs, or drunken bands of nobles and their guards looking for trouble - maybe dwarven nobles had different pastimes - but it brought back too many things he had mostly forgotten. As the night wore on Saav became more and more fidgety and withdrawn, and eventually sneaked away back to their chambers.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2021, 03:43 PM
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"The king has a job for you," Asdoukar says, "and I wish I could go along with you! But he'd not appreciate me speaking out of turn, so I'll let him explain the rest."

The next day, about noon, attendents appear and help you clean up, and then they guid you to a mighty hall in which a red-haired dwarf of fierce and proud demeanor sits upon the massive stone Throne of Moradin. He's flanked by a number of guards and advisors, and although a long stone table has been set out to one side and laid with refreshments, there do not appear to be any other guests. "Welcome, friends," says the king. "I've a mind to know about the rumblings and rumors about goings-on in the depths outside my city, and a particular mind," he says to Saav, "to know how another good elf has escaped the webs of Lolth, as a great friend of mine once did. If ye relate to me what ye know, we can talk then about what we should do next."

What would you like to do, or to say, or both?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2021, 12:48 PM
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The morning after, Smudgeon gratefully accepts Cyvintha's hangover cure and gets dressed up in his service uniform, with the addition of a formal sash.

King Bruneor doesn't address him, speaking more to Saav instead. Smudgeon is grateful. The last thing he wants to do is say the wrong thing and start a diplomatic incident. Ain't the gnome for this dance, he thinks. Instead, he focuses his attention to Insight 19what the king is saying ... and NOT saying.

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Old Sep 3rd, 2021, 03:11 PM
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"Escaping the city is not so onerous, if you are one of the underclass. People tend to ignore you much of the time. If your friend had higher rank, it may have been more difficult. My problem was that I went back one time too many", Saav explained. "And there are other gods than the Spider Queen, even in Menzoberranzan."

"Something is stirring", Saav agreed. "What we have seen, I will gladly tell." He sees no reason to hide any of their tale, if it can help. Mostly he is curious if anything has been happening here, in the dwarves' realm. That might explain the king's interest.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2021, 03:57 PM
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"Well," the King says to Saav, "they underestimated you, from what I hear." He listens to the others, to Derendil's humble account of becoming an elf, to Cyvintha's tale, and to the kobolds, and to everyone's account of escaping Velkynvelve. He notes that Smudgeon is watching him, and seems amused. He is particularly interested in the tale of Demogorgon's rise.

"Ye never saw what happent to 'im, then?" he asks.

Then he nods, and says that he has to consider all this, together with the rest of what he's learned. The characters are invited to a great feast later that night, where they will hear his decision.

But when the party returns to their lodging, they find it in uproar. A young girl, the dwarven daughter of another guest, is missing, and her mother is having a fit, much to the embarrasment of her husband.

What would you like to do now?
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