The Forges of the Mountain King Chapter 1- Bottom's Up!



The elation followed nervousness as Kazzagin's name was called and, almost together with Mardred, he walked boldly onto the stage, his father's armor there for all to see. He could feel the stares, almost hear jibes and calls forming in the mouths of braver dwarves. You either hated or loved Kazzagin's father, but he was an honest and brave member of the Bottom Dweller Unions and that couldn't be denied. This could turn ugly. He had to speak quickly following Mardred's perplexing speech. Maybe the confusion would help to avert attention from his speech.

"Bottom Dwellers! Dwarves!" he called in a loud voice, putting all his charm behind it.
OOC: Charisma Check to charm the crowd.

"I be Kazzagin!" he announced very loudly after a brief pause. He could feel recognition dawning on the faces of some members of the crowd. Aethor One-Arm was notorious. Outspoken some would say, liar others. He'd achieved so much in the mines that Kazzagin wasn't sure if even he could believe half the tales.

"The Dark Mind Dwellers Union be knowing all about the depths of the earth," he continued, "And we be here to enlighten the Bottom Dweller's with the wealth and knowledge of Tannheim's Lost Hold." The union has originally been called simply the Dark Dwellers Guild. Those that spend months and years mining the very deepest and most dangerous of mines in the earth. It hadn't taken many years before it turned into The Dark 'You're out of your Mind' Dwellers Guild, largely due to the danger but also because the dark did things to your head. Now, decades later, it was simple The Dark Mind Dwellers. Many had forgotten where the name originally came from.

"For years the dwarves of the Bottom Dwellers be birthing new Dark Dwellers, brave spirits that be mining the dark and be bringing riches and wealth to all dwarves. They be the brave, the excentric, the excellent. They be your people. But today... today you... all you assembled here... be chosing something better. Far better."

"You be chosing those that be going further than the Dark Dwellers ever could. These be your fellow dwarves. Your choice." He spread his arms, indicating those that had been chosen with him.

"I be saying your choice be excellent! Tomorrow we be going down, to be showing the Dark Dwellers the courage of the dwarven spirit. Your spirit. And I be going with. To honor all fellow brothers and sisters. To be making the Bottom Dwellers rise up!" He needed to end this quickly before he starting repeating himself.

"We be yours, brothers. We be you. Bottom Dwellers unite with us! Raise your beer with us! Drink with us! Today be our day, a new day, the last day. We be Bottom Dwellers no longer. We be moving up! Bottom Dwellers move up!" He stood back, sweating behind his beard.

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First Post

Krogan steps up to the podium... (Hopefully Threeway is off from his finger by now. If not, he waives and flaps his arms while he speaks with him attached to his thumb).
"Ahem, he he he he" with a big smile, Krogan starts his speech. The first one he has ever made in his life....
"My name is Krogan aaaa...he he Thundergut. I am from the Meatcleavers Guild. Aaaaa...I think I was chosen, because Rimrock didn`t want me no more in the mess hall ( I make a sad face,and a small pause...).. but that is o.k... I have a new friend"..and with a big smile, Krogan puts forth Threeways, like it is the most majestic site in the world. "He, he, and I see some very smart dwarfs next to me on this podium..I hope they will be my friends too". Krogan makes a hopeful look to each one of the chosen ones...
"Ahem... I am not big on words, but I will try to end this speech with something that my grandfather told me before each battle.." Now, for the first time, if you looked closely to Krogan, you could actually imagine this mountain of dwarf to be able to hurt something. The stature changed..the broad shoulders stretch out and the voice switched to something almost unnatural for a happy looking bear-dwarf.
" Ho there do I see my father.
Ho there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers.
Ho there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning.
Ho, they do call to me,
they bid me take my place among them,
in the Halls of Moradin, where the brave may live ( at this point I unsheathe my great axe, raise it high in the air and scream the last word *charisma check*)...FOREVER!!!

I understand if this is lame for you guys :), but I really like that movie and I was waiting for a long time to use that part in something I enjoyed. It felt right. Besides, the text that you guys are posting is excellent. I wish we could all quit our day jobs and just do this and make a novel ;-)

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First Post

I'm in the inventors guild and I am working on inventing a new marvel that will revolutionize how we do everything. I call it the internet. With if you will be able to see naked female dwarves at just a few key strokes on your personal computer, and find that special kink that you think only you like, but really lots of people like. Well that's the most important thing it will be able to do anyway. I still have a few details to work out with it though so i decided to take a break from the project and try to go on this quest with my good friend Kazzagin, but don't worry i will be back to finish it.
OOC: Just a few minor detials for him to work out like electricity, microchips, the computer, telephone.. Just a few minor details...


After Margaret (?)(thought it was Mardred?) steps back, Cinara leans over and whispers, "Will there be...ahem...will there be other naked females on your Intern-net to see, I mean, not just dwarves? I'm just curious is all...see, I have this friend.........."

Upon our glorious return, I pledge that there will be a union between the inventors' and septic & sewer pumpers' guilds. WasteWaterWorks will supply the means to get this Intern-net into every home, even the Toppers (whom we can charge extra even though they'll be farther from the hub).

OOC: Thanks for sharing the Go-On-Alan story! Made me laugh!! I too am from a time before the Internet, but my father (and my grandfather if you can believe that...he was an engineer on ENIAC [go look it up if you don't know what it is]) was always on the cutting edge of things and bought us an Atari 800 when I was 8 back in '79. I tought myself MS-DOS and BASIC. We eventually moved up to an IBM PCjr with a cradle modem for the phone (where I found my first BBSs). Ah the good old days... LOL
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And the party goes on... and on... and on.

Tomorrow is the first day of your new lives- as adventurers, it seems it's going to begin with a hang-over. All of the Dwarves present want to buy you a beer, shake your hand, slap you on the back or offer you a nugget of advice, like-

"Always keep your feet dry..."
"Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes..."
"Yellow snow is not for eatin'..."
"Shoot first, ask questions later..."
"Stout shoes are a must..."
"If there's no way around it- go through it..."
"Never leave a Dwarf behind..."
"You don't need to be able to run faster than the monsters, you just need to run faster than a few of your companions..."
"Don't stand next to the Barbarian when he goes cross-eyed..."
"Wrap up warm..."
"Only eat fish on a Fritag..."
"Learn to 'play dead'..."

And finally-

"Never take sweets from strangers..."

All good advice.

OOC: Here follows a brief opportunity for you to ask any questions of those present- perhaps source a few rumours about what lies ahead. And in the meantime send me your votes 1-2-3, with 1 being the best, for the speeches, obviously you can't vote for yourself, and to make it a secret ballot then 'private message' me with your selection- free Action Point for the winner. The ballot box closes at 5 PM GMT tomorrow. At which time your journey begins...


First Post

The speeches brought it home to Len. Tomorrow he would be leaving the only home he'd ever known to face danger and possibly die. He knew nothing of the path he had set forward on, knew nothing about The Lost Hold and it's dangers.

'Time to get serious' he thought.

Spotting Rita in the crowd he departed the stage - time to get serious!


And so, the next day...

Having recovered somewhat from last nights celebrations the heroes are gathered in an ante-chamber, packed, stowed and ready to go.

You've been provided with a pile of mundane adventuring gear, all second-hand by the looks of things, and basically told to help yourself.

OOC: Help yourself to any mundane adventuring equipment valued 10gp or less, although don't overload yourself because... Send me a list.

Also in the chamber are dozens of packs of iron rations, certainly enough for two weeks each- it's suggested you take plenty of food, you've been told that the journey to the Lost Hold will take three days.

All this info has been passed on to you by a red-faced bespectacled Dwarven clerk called 'Butters', who stutters and bows around the chosen one's.

Time passes, it's like you've been forgotten.

Eventually a gruff-looking robed Dwarf arrives- you've not seen this guy before.

Butters smiles weakly, mutters 'the Gaffer', and then scurries out of the room.

The Gaffer, for it is he, pulls down his hood, much of his face is still however hidden by a thick bandanna pulled up to his eyes, the Dwarf further wears a pair of darkened goggles.

The Gaffer removes a thick pair of nailed gloves, slowly unbuttons his thick over-coat to reveal a series of bandoliers packed with all manner of oddments, and beneath a thick cured-leather suit- clearly a specialist item, made specifically for the wearer.

The Gaffer sighs, and looks at each of you in turn.

Saunters forward, head down, till he's less than two feet away from the first of you (Len), he removes his goggles, he has piercing green eyes.

He sniffs at Len, at his armpit area, around his neck, and face- satisfied, he snarls a little and utters his first words.

In a gruff voice, the kind of voice you don't want to hear in the dark.

"Careful- women weaken legs, they try to steal your essence."

Which may or may not leave you utterly confused.

The Gaffer moves on down the line, to Krogan, and repeats the strange performance.

"Keep that weasel outta my way." The Gaffer offers.

Then to Mardred, he recoils suddenly- as if he's suddenly caught scent of something bad.

He stares intently at Mardred for a while longer, and then moves closer in to the Dwarf.

"I've got my eye on you..."

Then to Thorgrim, repeats the performance, and offers- "Good, good- suck that belly in soldier."

Then to Kazzagin, again the same performance, this time the Gaffer states- "About time, about bloody time- ya know what grows in the shadow?"

Kazzagin looks a little confused, but only for a moment, the Gaffer answers his own question.


Then moves on...

And suddenly comes up short.

He stares intently at Cinara, with her bleached blond hair.

He sniffs, recoils.

Sniffs, recoils.

Sniffs... and recoils.

Shakes his head.

"You've got to be... a wo-"

The Gaffer about-turns and marches a little away, turns back, looking at five of the six assembled Dwarves, avoiding eye contact with Cinara altogether.

The Gaffer sighs, shakes his head once more, and then with a shrug states-

"Three days hard clog to the Hold, ya do what I say- when I say, and we travel quiet- whispers in the halls lead to falls... Any questions?"

The Gaffer turns around and heads out of the ante-chamber, out in to a partially lit passage, then in to a smaller passage, and then another, until finally the passages cease and you're in the Underdark...

The Gaffer sets a fair pace, you find you can chat- in a whisper, if you hang a little way back...

OOC: I'll be continuing your journey here, with fairly regular updates, over the next 24-or-so hours, feel free to chat, or otherwise contribute.


First Post
"You've got to be... a wo-"

"Least he can tell that much by sniff alone..." Cinara whispers to no one in particular.

At some point shortly after the beginning of the march, Cinara matches pace with the paladin. "Tell me, Kazzigan, what does a paladin of freedom, well, do? Whom do you warrant are needing freedom? From what? Mind you, I'm merely curious and hope I do not offend."



The Gaffer's words had left him cold. It's like he knew of the visage of Kazzagin's mind - the demon-wolf of his birth. And yet, yet, when the time came to even think of questioning the answer was not what he expected. Was the comment meant to give him more resolve in the shadow of the Underdark? It left him confused so that even by the time he'd gathered pretty much everything he owned and they departed down dark tunnels, he was still no neared to an answer. A puzzling man.

It was hard to keep too quiet in a set in plate armor, but at least further back from the Gaffer's silent movements there weren't too many complaints. Truth be told, he didn't know what to expect. Certainly, when the time came, he did not expect Cinara's questions. He looked around to see where his 'squire' had gone. "Mardred, you be helping the Gaffer up front. You be best suited to such work." Even with the purse returned to a one Jimmy Numbnutz, the matter had not been resolved to his satisfaction. Nevertheless, there was a time for everything and freedom didn't always come when one asked.

"It be liberty," he remarked, "The freedom to be choosing one's own path, without an other be hindering it. The freedom of person. The world be full of things that would be surpressing this personal freedom, even the law many be holding dear. Each man be his own person, each man holds his own freedom. I be holding this truth in Pelor's name, the sun god. The light holds freedom, the dark doesn't. Perhaps that is why I be chosen for this." He scratched a filthy beard in the half-light around them.

"It be not common to be seeing a dwarf such as yourself. Why be you down here?" He felt obliged to ask in return, but Cinara was a quizical beast, and Kazzagin felt that the journey would be easier if he knew those around him. "Further you be up, squire," he whispered harshly even though Mardred didn't really appear to be dawdling. A strange and dangerous man - what to do with him?

OOC: I'll post an equipment list tomorrow for additional items taken down to the Lost Hold.


The Gaffer's pace never lets up- he never falters, nor does he turn to look back at the six that tramp behind him, all his sense are focussed forward- to the path, the walls, the tunnels. He scans and searches every inch of the way looking for... anything, a clue that something is amiss- danger.

Through passages large and small, down seemingly endless tunnels that twist and turn and head back upon themselves, inclines, declines- stepped passages, narrow passes that skirt and circle larger caverns.

The Gaffer radiates alertness.

Here and there are chambers full of glowing fungi or phosphorescent mosses, through which the passing parties shadows stalk the walls like hulking giants- bowed in reflection, the weight of the stone overhead pressing down upon them.

The lit chambers however are few and far between, mostly the journey is through a grey dark that seems to fog the vision, to create shapes and signs before the eyes.

For Dwarves that have never left their Halls before the Underdark is a haunting place, a place in which religion can be found or, as easily, lost. It never changes and yet is different at every turn. It is a dangerous, cruel and unforgiving stone-scape which is at the same time stunningly, elegantly crafted, as if by mad gods, or sorrowful demons.

The Gaffer drinks in every last drop of his surroundings, and presses on.

And on.

And on.

Until, without warning, he suddenly stops in a clear low-ceilinged chamber, a little way ahead of his followers. In short order- in less than five minutes, he has established a very basic camp- a single glowing coal soon smokes, then smoulders. Minutes later a black mushroom pottage thickened with Dwarf bread, bubbles and simmers. Fresh, crystal clear and ice-cold water is set out- seven cups- each made of silver, each slightly smaller than the one before.

The Gaffer sits cross-legged, having removed his hood, bandanna and goggles, his green eyes twinkle, and most suspicious of all, he smiles.

In a calm voice, almost tender, he states- “eat, drink, talk- we are safe here”. He begins to pass around thin stone bowls for the meal.



First Post

Len follows The Gaffer along steadily, the distance not really troubling him, nor the dark, nor the strange sights, sounds and smells of the Underdark. But his right hand itches, almost painful. If he didn't know better he would have sworn that the symbol of Marthammor Duin inked there all those years ago was burning the skin were it covered the back of his hand.

He walks on in silence, and when the Gaffer stops, is just as chatty as he eats.

OOC: Len will just take the 2 weeks rations, waterskin, a coil of rope, bedroll, and flint and tinder.

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