Friday, January 20, 2006

More Journal of Aeryn

It’s been several weeks since the last time I wrote in this journal. I have been far too busy with other things to really take the time to keep up with it; although I have done plenty of reading and writing to keep my practice up, it has mostly been official documents I have had to fill out and books on carpentry I borrowed from Volkrad’s library.

The city allowed me to purchase the warehouse with the cult hideout underneath for a mere gold coin. They did this out of gratitude and the condition that I would fix it up. There are a lot of damaged buildings in this city, and the effort to rebuild is slow at best. The first thing I did was clean out the underground area of anything that remotely smelled of Chaos. Then I consulted my carpentry books and took stock of the repair situation.

Cosmetically, it needed a lot of patchwork done. This I thought I could do on my own. However, after looking at the supports, it became clear that they were weak and could lead to a partial collapse if they were not shored up. Sad to say, this task may have been beyond me. It would be risky for me to attempt this untrained, because if I failed the results could be disastrous. I needed help. Ulfred was busy with his new job, as was Konrad and Volkrad. Besides which, it is always said that Dwarves are the best builders around. Certainly we don’t usually build anything, it’s just a matter of convincing the trees to take the right shape…which sure wasn’t going to work here.

I only know one Dwarf, and he doesn’t seem to care much for me. I bit the arrowhead anyway and went and found him lounging around the Dwarf quarter. I took a deep breath, and I asked Furdok if he would help me repair and construct the building, fully expecting him to tell me to go away and leave him alone. Surprisingly he agreed, and though he scowled and huffed, he seemed eager enough to get started.

I’m not sure exactly why he agreed. It could be because I offered him the underground area to do with as he saw fit, and indeed his eyes lit up a little when I mentioned it. However, I think it had more to do with his nature. The prospect of delving into a project which would use his hands and skills and challenge him directly, I believe, was his main motivating factor. It actually gave me some interesting insight into Dwarves as I watched him work. He arrived early every day, and worked hard and late into the evening, hardly even stopping to complain or eat dinner. He didn’t even mind that I took a few trips with Konrad when he went on patrol. Actually, I did a lot of the work at night while he was asleep, but I think he actually had rather I left all of the tough jobs to him. He didn’t think I would do it “properly”, and he was probably right. I kind of have a new found fondness for him. Yes, he is surly and boastful, violent, and rude; and yes he refuses to call me by my name (he just calls me “the Elf”, and so I call him “the Dwarf”), but I honestly don’t think he does so out of malice. It’s just the way they are, and if you can see through the gruff exterior there are traits to be admired in them.

Anyway, recently Volkrad came to see us. It seems that the nonsense that Liebnitz had babbled about the demon being released may not have been entirely nonsense after all. In any case, Volkrad seems to have stumbled across evidence that there are two other artifacts containing the essence of the Beast, and that one of them is in Altdorf right this instant, surely up to no good. Apparently if the demon is freed from the other two artifacts, many bad things will happen. He wanted to know if we would accompany him to Altdorf.

Truth be told, I was a little excited about getting everyone back together again. I mean, last time was awful, but the rush of such adventuresome undertakings seems to be a bit addictive. We all agreed to go with him to stop whatever nefarious plot was afoot, and set off the next day to Altdorf.

We stopped for the night at a roadside Inn called the Three Feathers. This proved to be a mistake. A local Gravin and her staff were there for the evening as well, plus a whole host of shady characters coming and going. Personally, I tried to ignore all the various doings of Men. I have found that the more you get involved in their affairs, the worse things get. Apparently though, another Dwarven trait is curiosity. Furdok spent the better part of the evening putting his not inconsiderable nose into other people’s business.

There was a brawl involving a drunken Noble searching the Inn for his wife’s lover (I believe, anyway) which began with Furdok hitting him in the head with his hammer (Dwarves really like to hit stuff, too) and ended with Konrad using his pistol to settle down the combatants.

Eventually, this got us noticed by some Lawyer working for the Gravin, who (as it was explained to me, though I must have missed the part where he said it) offered us 250 Karls to kill some Chaos Cultists who were blackmailing him. We weren’t sure whether to believe him or not, and did not want to just murder people without evidence of wrongdoing, not being assassins. Unfortunately this indecisiveness ended up getting the poor lawyer killed, as he was apparently telling the truth and was killed by the cultists. I was upset by this, and followed their trail to the river’s edge. I needed to get across to continue my pursuit, and so I returned to the Inn to talk to the boatmen we had met earlier.

While I was gone, apparently the rest of them had discovered a wanted man being smuggled in a coffin and apprehended him. That was the good part. The bad part was that the Gravin’s champion had been murdered with Ulfred’s dagger and Ulfred was accused of the deed. Somehow we all ended up under lock and key for this, even though I wasn’t even in the building when this occurred! The justice of Men is poor indeed.

We soon discovered that our arrest was a clever ruse by the Gravin to lure the murderer out by pretending to make Ulfred her champion in place of the murdered Boris. Somehow the champion was essential to her legal defense against the man who she believed was behind this plot. I never did quite understand that part…her Lawyer was dead but she was unconcerned about that, but somehow an uneducated, dumb, drunken warrior was key to her winning the legal dispute? I could maybe understand putting Ulfred in his place, he’s fairly smart and has participated in one trial that we won, but still. Men are incomprehensible in some ways.

Kinda dumb too. The assassin tried the exact same tactic with Ulfred, sneaking into his room intending to place someone else’s dagger in his back. Didn’t he imagine that would be just a little too coincidental? We all crowded into Ulfred’s room, waiting to see if the murderer would appear.

The Gravin allowed us each one weapon while we waited in ambush. As the quarters were close, I was forced to choose my sword though I mislike using it. I’ve only ever used it against some skeletons and the barman who tried to knock my head in with a cudgel. Ulfred of course chose his halberd, which he is quite skilled with. Volkrad probably needs no weapons, but he is not bad with a quarterstaff. Interestingly, Konrad forewent his axe for his pistol. He seems to have a great affinity for weapons which make loud booms. Finally, Furdok chose his hammer, because he really likes to thump people with it.

For that reason, I alerted him when the assassin quietly edged his way into the room, figuring that he’d like to thump him on the noggin and then we could capture him. Unfortunately, Dwarves are great at thumping people but not as good at actually hurting them…the man staggered a bit but quickly entered a fighting stance. I figured that I would try to wound him in the leg so he’d be easy prey for someone else to knock him out or otherwise restrain him, so I slashed at his thigh with my sword.

I guess I don’t know my own strength though. I killed him with one stroke. Volkrad said I hit his artery. I didn’t mean to, but for some reason I seem to be a better swordsman than I ever imagined. We were always taught that fighting hand to hand is what Kithband Warriors do when the only option left is to go down fighting. I don’t like it and I don’t want to do it again, but I suppose I may have to. I think I am going to have Ulfred teach me a little of what he knows about anatomy so that I won’t be accidentally killing people any more.

Well, the Gravin seemed satisfied with our efforts anyway, and released us. The rest of the folks got a little rest before we headed out after dawn. Sadly, I never got to pursue the Lawyer’s killers.


Delphino said...

"Unfortunately, Dwarves are great at thumping people but not as good at actually hurting them…

Frackin' Dice Luck.

Someday I will kill someone and it will be impressive.

Barilas said...

Yes yes. Of course you will.

Womachka said...

Hey and look at that. Someday already arived. The dwarf killed a couple somethings last session.