Dollano 18, SP~4,909
It’s been two days since I last wrote and there’s a lot to tell, including our battle with Begkragk and his folk. I need to start from the beginning, though.
We started off yesterday waking up in the Last Palace of the Kingdom of the Elling. An amazing place. Unfortunately, though, we didn’t have time to explore. We were traveling fast and kept to an outer hallway that took us past the main parts of the underground city. This saved us a lot of time, but lost the opportunity to savor this place. Even though we moved through quickly, its beauty was on full display. A number of times we passed a large opening where I was able to get a glimpse of interior halls. They were filled with murals, carvings, statues, and tall ceilings. Opulence beyond belief. Wanted badly to stop, even just for a few minutes, but Allalling would have none of it.
I could have gotten quite a few good stories for the News out of this place. Just the kind of thing they like.
Note To Self: Go back and get the big story; the history, architecture, and the folk, of course. I should be able to get a good long series out of it. Maybe take Allalling for commentary. On second thought, maybe not.
By mid-day we were out of the Elling Kingdom, and into fresh air. A welcome relief. We found ourselves in a narrow ravine. It was dimly lit, almost like night. The sides were very steep and let in very little sun, and what light it did get was mostly blocked by the thick brush and short trees along its sides. Donnessling liked that. He was pleased that we were well-hidden.
We walked through this gully for an hour or two. Not easy walking but at least we had a fresh breeze.
I don’t know how Donnessling could find anything in the dark bramble, but he did. Before we lost the light entirely, he found what he’d been looking for — a small break in the ravine wall. When we cleared away the overgrowth we found a tunnel entrance going down into the mountain — again into the mountain!
“Here it is,” Donnessling said to us, “an old entrance into the Begkragk Kingdom.” He was quite pleased with himself, as he should have been.
The tunnel was old and it looked like no one had used it in a long time. It was not an impressive thing to see. It looked more like a passageway that might be used by workers or maintenance crews. I’ll have to ask about that later.
Once again, Donnessling proved himself to be a great navigator. There were many twists and turns and new corridors were forever opening up around us, but Donnessling never hesitated. He knew where he wanted to go.
After a few hours he led us up a narrow stairwell that showed light at its end.
“This is it. I believe we will find Begkragk ahead.” Donnessling was eager, but still calm. He nodded to Allalling to get things sorted which he did. His last bit of sorting was to pull me aside and tell me not to follow them into the room under any circumstances, unless he called me. I mumbled something that sounded sort of like a ‘yes’. He bristled, but didn’t have time to argue.
We soon found ourselves near the ceiling of a large empty hall. We had emerged between the tops of massive pillars that ran across the length and width of the hall. We were at least thirty feet above the floor, standing in a small, virtually invisible, walking lane that led behind all of the columns — for the maintenance servers. Allalling turned to me to let me know this is where I was to stay.
Suddenly, we could all hear a loud chanting down below us. It was Begkragk. No mistaking his voice for anything other than two drunk oogerts stumbling through a gravel pit. He was standing at the far end of the hall facing some kind of large statue — looked like an old warrior — and he was reciting something; perhaps an old incantation, and he was holding up a purple gem — the Eye of Zanyr!
He had a couple dozen dwarves standing behind him, listening intently as Begkragk droned on.
Donnessling led his nossring kin along the narrow path until they reached the far end. I swear these nossring just don’t make any sound when they don’t want to. He separated them into three groups and, at his signal, they all leaped down onto the floor and attacked Begkragk and his fighters.
The fighting was ferocious. The nossring had the advantage at first because of the surprise. We were deep inside Begkragk’s kingdom and they were not expecting an attack here.
A number of dwarves fell within the first few seconds, but they soon rallied and moved to protect their king, who had been attacked by Donnessling first thing. Donnessling was able to wound Begkragk, deeply along the length of his left arm, but he was quick to draw his blade with his right. The two were well-matched, and when the other dwarves stormed to Begkragk’s aid, Donnessling was forced to back away.
He had sustained several deep wounds himself. I was amazed, though, to see his wounds heal quickly as he fought on. There was a subtle green glow beneath his thick leather tunic as the wounds healed. The Eye of Darmyn. These “Eyes” were pretty spectacular things.
Needless to say, I had by this point decided that Allalling’s advice was astute and I had decided to follow it. That proved to be irrelevant, though, when a large alarm sounded a few minutes after the battle began. More dwarf soldiers would be here, and soon!
Begkragk shouted to urge on his warriors, knowing that victory was near at hand. However, his shout was premature, fatally so. More quickly than I had ever seen him (or anyone) move, Donnessling leaped between the dwarves in front of Begkragk and drove his sword into the dwarf king’s chest. Before Begkragk could choke out his final curse Donnessling had thrust his hand through the opening his sword had cleaved in Begkragk’s armor and pulled out the purple gem.
Begkragk fell to the ground awash in his own blood and that of several of his kin. The other dwarves were shocked to see their leader dead on the floor at their feet. This gave the nossring their chance to flee, which they did immediately. Allalling, had the presence of mind to look up to find my eyes and give me a nod. I took that as a signal to withdraw back down the small passageway we had come from.
In less than a minute the nossring joined me. There were fewer of them now than there had been before they left me. There was no time for grieving, though. Several others were wounded, some very deeply. Allalling led the way as we raced down the corridor. As he did, Donnessling was using his green stone to help heal his comrades.
I am too exhausted to tell the story of the chase in detail now. Suffice it to say that Begkragk’s kin wanted revenge and in the worst way. They chased us through their kingdom for the entirety of that night and well into the next day. We finally found an unguarded exit, the one from which we entered, and scurried back into the ravine. This time, though, Donnessling led us up the sides of the ravine and into the mountains higher places.
We managed, for the most part, to avoid the dwarves who sought our lives. The one or two small encounters were quickly dealt with and no dwarves were left to send a signal they had found us.
Now it is night again, and we are all exhausted. Donnessling has found an old cave in the cold heights of the mountains, and he has kept us alive, he and Allalling, with their fierce determination and no small assistance from a powerful green gem.
I can write no more tonight. For now, though, we are safe, and tomorrow we will, hopefully, find our way home carrying two “Eyes”.