Nix asks Gidye if King Trillhelm should be notified of Geran being a Dragon… News to Gidye, but she recovers from the information and suggests that it should be the next thing on the agenda.
Darrin volunteers to watch Geran while the King is spoken to about the situation. Due to the offer, Jila considers his opinion on the matter to perhaps be useful in convincing Trillhelm of this outlandish claim. Bennet and Korik join also as witnesses, while Simon will go to the Inn to prepare the rooms and his coinpurse.
Adrik and Theodore confirm their intention to stay with Lorawyn and decide where they’re going next… cooing over the sleeping baby wolf in Adriks hands. Ero, meanwhile, stands by mostly ignored, his minor litter of miniature fungus men beginning to rummage through his pack.
Lorawyn transforms back into her true form and pulls Darring aside violently. “What do you think you’re doing, eh?!” She whisper-hisses with a growl at the back of her throat during the softer sounds. “Talking to that… that dirtbag!?”
“Lorawyn… I think there’s more to him than meets the eye. Apart from the stuff we already know about.”
Lorawyn casts a sideways glance at Darrin, watching him closely and putting her disapproval on full display.
Gidye steps towards the door leading to the city. “I will escort you to Trillhelm. I can get an immediate audience.”
Nix, Jila, Bennet and Korik go with Gidye. Darrin stays to watch Geran. Simon heads to the Inn to prepare for the debrief and payment of the party.
The road to Korath is a straight one, and is pitch black. It is absurdly clean, however; The well-shaped stone blocks that make up the floor, walls and vaulted ceiling are polished, the speckles of minerals within the stone shining through the dull reflection of the lamplight. Each step echoes down the tunnel, a constant companion. Three miles and almost an hour later, the tunnel ends in a door of the most compact-looking oak. The heavy door is pushed slightly open by Gidye, and it then seems to open itself the rest of the way. Emerging into a side-street of sorts, Nix, Jila and the others see they are in a carved cavern.
On the ceiling, masons work with hammers and chisels, breaking away small bits of stone to raise the roof and make it smoother. The walls to either side of the doorway progress a few feet before turning sharply away. It appears the doorway is between two buildings, carved from the stone. A wide street divides two sides, both with carved buildings that stand several stories tall. Glassy crystals hang from metal pipes that run along the sides of the street about a dozen feet off the ground. A pleasant bright light shines from the crystals, a mixture of yellow and white. Dwarves of many creeds and families meander along the streets, conversation heavy in the air. It seems no Dwarf goes five paces without greeting another and discussing something.
Some men and women are rubbing the stone with other, smaller stones and cloths, buffing the surfaces to make them smoother and shinier. Painters set colourful inlays to some of the more fanciful masonry and architecture. A few statuettes sit fixed to the sides of buildings, overlooking the streets. This wide, long street ends nearby to the left, but to the right meets an intersection and continues over it, the cavern opening up higher at the crossroad. A gigantic, light-filled crystal sits hundreds of feet above a wood and stone palacial structure in the centre of this humungous cave. Carved buildings lie in carefully planned streets, people moving this way and that, the smells of softly boiled vegetables and unseasoned meats waft from the main body of the city. On the walls, thanks to how brightly lit the whole place is, cut pathways supported by additional wooden rigging and scaffolding sport similar guards to the one Gidye handed the note to.
The overpowering din of the place subsides slightly as the ears of the party become accustomed to it. The welcoming nature of the city shocks Jila into discomfort as a passerby hails him, stops to think for a moment, and then performs a customary Elven greeting before moving on. Gidye smiles and greets most of the people on the way by name, hundreds of people. At the intersection, she stops a donkey-drawn cart and speaks to the driver, asking for a lift to the palace. He agrees reluctantly, and asks everyone to hop into the back. Amongst the large, round turnips, Bennet amuses himself by watching Korik try to get comfortable, while the halfling sits perched atop one especially large vegetable.
Passing under a few stone footbridges between street sides, eventually the cart stops at a set of stone gates that open slowly. Hopping out, Gidye thanks the gentleman for his service and tosses him an octagonal metal coin; a different currency to that in Somergleam.
Climbing the stone central staircase that lies behind the large stone gates, Gidye leads to a wooden hall sat amongst the structures in this palace. High windows betray the songs being sung within, and the scents of perfumes, food and honey-scented drinks. The low, wide doors are pushed open by Gidye and she holds it open for the rest.
Within is a grand drinking hall. A small band sits in the middle, tables lay hither and tither with no set order any more and most of the stools appear to have been commandeered by a couple of Dwarves in the corner trying to complete some kind of architectural marvel.
Most of the Dwarves here are older, with hair being between streaked with grey, and completely white. It appears in the drinking and feasting that has been going on, one group in the centre has broken off into a different melody to the other. One person appears to have noticed, and tries to wrap his arms around one of the singers of the errant tune and sing his song louder. It doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect.
“Ahem.” Gidye coughs into her hand, fairly quietly. The melody-corrector looks up, a smile beaming across his face.
“GIDYE!” he bellows in a rusty voice, his throat in need of clearing. “Gidye, Gidye, Gidye…” He charges over with surprising balance and hugs her, lifting her off the ground in the embrace. His bright blue tunic, lined with green and gold trim, is visually indisctinct from the clothing of most of the other Dwarves seen in the city.
“Nix Garric, I present to you King Trillhelm.” Gidye announces from her elevated position. Trillhelm puts her down, his rosy cheeks peeking over his broad beard. His eyes linger on Gidye a moment while he takes a deep breath, clears his throat and turns to Nix.
“A pleasure, Lady Nix.” He declares, rather soberly, although a twinkle of frivolity remains in his eyes and voice. “How may the crown be of service today?”
The party continues behind him, the songs having reached a crescendo of incompatible melodies.
What do you do?
Who else travelled with Nix?