she even call it that? Did she want to? He was just a human wagon-driver. She
looked up quickly, her mind aswim in a new thought.
So - is that what Rube did? In an effort to dismiss
her, he brought out her obvious flaws. Which was very cruel. But,
unlike her, he did it for a reason - to protect her,
to show her what to expect. She just did it out of spite. She rolled her eyes at
herself, and pulled her hood quickly over her head, lost in her own slight
"Hey... Viresse... I'm sorry I had to bring that up, but they don't really know
you like I do." Rube said, then paused. "I mean, I don't even really know you,
but I like to think I know something." He seemed to be very uncomfortable as she
felt him shift his weight, then called to his horses to quicken the pace. The
last flaming sun beams slipped behind the hills, and the land was no longer
alight. Only the sky glowed with the bright beams of the InjŤrŠ, broken up by
hazy pink clouds that lazily drifted across the darkening skies. Viresse looked
up, and an excited shiver ran through her. Nightfall. And if they were to go
underground, it would be as if it was truly night. She pondered what it would be
like... underground. Permanent nighfall.
As the wagon trundled across the bridge, Viresse heard a spot of commotion. Over
the hill they spied a massive dug-out tunnel in a hill. An arched doorway
carved meticulously into the face of the hill with rough-hewn dwarven figures
and sharp angled dwarven lettering - it was assumed that it said "Tyr Thromgolin"
then another line of other words that due to Viresse's lack of knowledge on
dwarves made her unable to decipher. The arched entrance was flanked by massive
pyres that were set into niches as tall as a man, dug into the face of the hill
itself. There were only a couple of other wagons ahead of them, but they had
balked at the entrance to the tunnel. Rube pulled up alongside and stopped his
horses, and called across the wagon to the others as he parked restlessly.
"What's going on?" Rube asked.
A scruffy-looking wagonmaster, who smiled but had seemed to have lost a few
teeth in his journeys, called back to Rube. "Not entirely sure. Some say the
tunnel-lights are out - don't want to risk riding in the darkness, especially
underground. Sent my boy Naghib in with a torch to advise the
dwarves at the
halfway point about the pyres out, but he hasn't made it back yet."
heavily, probably in fear of his on child, but continued. "Lighting the pyres
along the trail alone could take an hour or so- and that'll be too long. The
sun's already down and anyone with a good brain and a great sword can rob us
all blind." He shrugged. "A couple of us are pondering dropping camp here
- a few
others are thinking of break-necking it to Elsreth."
Rube shrugged, and looekd to Viresse. "We too can camp here, but it's going to
throw us off scheduele in a bad way. What do you want to do?" He swallowed and
looked to Virese, hoping she would have a decent answer, though asking her
advice on wagin-trips may not have much effect on the outcome.
After a few seconds she looked up at him, her dark eyes alight. "Do you have a
torch?" She asked. She stood up and looked over the wagon bed, hoping to find
"No, I don't think so, but maybe one of them will. What do you have in mind?"
Rube asked. He rummaged in the wagon anyway, hoping one would turn up.
Viresse turned to the toothless old man. "Sorry to be a bother, sir, but do you
have a torch? If you let me use it I promise I'll help you out as well." She
cocked an eyebrow, and tried to look as friendly as possible.
The old man did a double take, but nodded slowly. " Well now, a
drow! I haven't
seen one of you guys in a long time, not since..." He made an awkward face, as if
sharing an inside joke. "You guys can see in the dark, cain't cha?" He raised
his brows excitedly, and called over to a couple other of the wagondrivers.
"We've got a drow who can see in the dark!" he called, and several of the people
cried out - some cheerfully, others in shock. But the toothless wagonmaster
seemed openly excited. "You can, can't ya?"
"Well... Not completely, just better than others,"
Viresse answered. The
wagonmaster lit her torch with one of his own and Viresse hopped down from
Rube's wagon. She stepped about 5 peds away from Rube's wagon and explained. "I'm going to lead the way. Everyone should have their own torch so they can see
how close they are to each other. If you're really afriad of getting lost,
tether your horses to the wagon in front. At the halfway point, we'll stop for a
break, then continue on. Hopefully the torches won't be out from then to Tyr."
Viresse looked at the other wagons, who were making the necessary adjustments
for the dark tunnel journey. She sighed heavily, hoping she could do this. She
walked up to the larger horse on Rube's yoke, and grabbed one of its lead ropes.
She then stepped ahead, held the torch high, and walked toward the mouth of the
The tunnel was wide and spacious. Two wagons could have rolled side by side
here, but it didn't make much sense at the moment to do so. With her her
adjusted eyes, she could see the niches in the walls, as big as the ones
outside, where flames were meant to be burning brightly
- they would no doubt
have bounced across the walls and easily illuminated the tunnel. She spied
reflection of the torchlights on the walls as well
- perhaps they were naturally
imbedded with quartz. Which would make the hall even brighter, but must have
been a pain beyond all pains to dig through. Unless they were walking in a dug
out vein of a softer material. Perhaps it was even an old
gold or sSilver vein, that
the dwarves expanded to accomodate travelling.
At several points her torch light flickered, as if a gust had touched it. She
paused, and called out to the others to do the same. She asked Rube what it was.
"There are several massive caves down here, that this road travels past. There
are stone rails to guide us away from the edge, but keep an eye on your flame
if we move too fast they'll blow out." Rube gently told her, and Viresse nodded.
She then realized that her nod may not be visible, so she called out an
affirmative, then led them on.
As she reached one of the spoken-of caverns, her flame danced as if it was
truly alive, and there was a great expanse to her left where no refracted light
returned from - she assumed it to be the drop-off.
Viresse was awed by it, though
she could see nothing. These dwarves were resilient and amazing people. Rube's
horses stirred uncomfortably, but with some scolding from Viresse they shook it
off and continued to move on.
The walk was long, but Viresse was happy to be off the wagon. Not only was her
back end sore from the bounce and roll, and the lack of give on the wooden seat,
but the tension that had begun to rise between her and Rube was annoying her to
no end. She thought about it, and decided she would chronicle it, despite her
last efforts that simply were blotted away by the unexpected rain. She didn't
want to encounter a situation like this again, so she felt that if she wrote it
down, then she would have physical descriptions of how and why it happened so
she could avoid it in the future. At least, that's what she hoped.
She soon came to a point where the road widened, and there were hints of
torchlight scattered ahead. A few of the wagonriders in the darkness cheered
behind her - they must have made it to the halfway point. But it was quite dark,
she had assumed it to be more lit than this. What was going on?
She turned to Rube and told him to wait, then walked ahead to scout out. As she
got closer to the torches, the flames danced and moved oddly, as if those that
held them were running about in a very unorganized fashion. She paused about ten
peds away so her appearance wouldn't startle them, and called out.
"Lo! The flames are out from the Tyr entrance and we were hoping you'd all help
us out!" she called out, a pale hand (though not
entirey visible in the darkness) cupped to her mouth.
One of the torches sprinted over to her location.
A squat, round dwarf with a long red beard held his torch high, a bit closer to
her face than she would have liked. She stepped back and listened to the little
dwarf man speak, his voice deep and gruff.
"Got a bit of a problem with the command order here at the moment. Mithmor
thergerim fell down the steps and did a bit of damage to his eleng
- er, arm.
You'd a think that a thergerim wouldn't break as easily as some, but that's
sometimes the way the quartz shatters. We heard from a little human kid that ran
through here a bit ago about the thuuth in the front corridor, but we sent him on
ahead of our main brigade to Tyr Thromgolin to get help for Mithmor Dan Feffin.
The kid moves much faster than we do, so we're hoping he'll come back as soon as
possible. At the moment, no one wants to leave him, and usually
thuuth goes to
the coten, but we can't really figure out who that is at the moment."
Viresse furrowed her brows. She didn't understand thergerim, the dwarven
language, at all. But she was thankful that the darkness hid her confused
expression. "Why don't you do it?" she asked.
"Me?! Ha! I'm Ave Mithmor! I'm not bowing in because some silly cherk won't do
his job!" He made a grunting noise, and turned to leave.
"Well, someone needs to do it,"
she snapped. " Whoever will do it, I'll give
them 20 san."
The dwarf turned around, and looked at her. She couldn't see his eyes due to his
thicky furrowed brows, but his cheeks seemed turned up as if he was smiling.
"Make it twenty san worth of Aril, and I'll do it!" He came walking back. They
shook hands, and he quickly turned to the gathering of torches. "Danzig, Mason!
Let's go light the thuuth. NOW!"
Two torches came boundign away from the main group and approached Viresse and
the deal-making dwarf. "Go fetch the ladder, I'll go lead the way." He
to Viresse. "The Tyr isn't so big, so don't think you can get away with it...
"He smiled cheerfully, and started to walk away.
He paused and turned around, and looked at Viresse. "If it's not too much, can
one of your empty wagon drivers carry Mithmor Dan to the Tyr? He's not going to
walk on his own, and if the boy we sent just got there, it's still going to be
another half an hour by foot. I'd appreciate it." Viresse nodded solemnly, as
the two dwarves carrying the ladder scampered behind the
dwarf with the torch leading the way.
Viresse returned to Rube and told him of the situation - the injured dwarf
commander and his need to get to town in a hurry. She also told them about the
boy. Rube completely understood, or it at least seemed he did, so she took up
the rein on the horse and led them on.
A large stronghold-like building was deeply rutted into the rock, it's surface
was straked with strains of quartz, coal and even veins of gold. It had a high
central room, and beneath that was a small room with a heavy wooden door. The
central room had steep ramps that ended at the bottom floor near the central
room. The lower room seemed to be serve for storing goods, while the upper seemed to be
an excellent vantage point. A couple of small ponies were tied up near the
stairs around a carved outcropping of stone. the rooms were burning brightly,
and there were some lamps and ground-planted torches that still burned, but
there were far more that were out, making the place seem very ominous.
The group passed near the cluster of torches, the dwarves' combined torchlights
casting a decent amount of light in the area. One of the the dwarves stepped
aside - he had a cape and an elaborate steel cap upon his head and thick braids
in his beard - and revealed the injured dwarf.
The injured dwarf looked a lot older than the ones present, with a salt and
pepper beard and a large nose red with the look of a heavy drinker. His face was
twisted in pain and he grunted angrily, cursing vehemently in thergerim. Viresse
knelt down and sat the dwarf up, and looked to Rube.
Rube took the nonverbal cue and jumped down from the wagon, and the two of them
explained to the dwarf cluster what they were planning to do. With some
assistance, Viresse, Rube and a few of the dwarves loaded the injured Mithmor
into the back of the wagon. Some of the dwarves were inquisitive as to what was
wrapped in the back of the wagon, but Rube shooed them off.
"It's all going to Tyr anyway, so just be patient and wait till we get there,
thanks." He snapped, and then jumped out of the wagon. He sat back up onto his
seat, Viresse taking the lead with the horses again and they left the halfway
point - the dwarves' torches slowly dimming in the tunnel's darkness as they
moved on away from them.
As they left the halfway point, Viresse noticed a dimly lit torch niched into
the wall ahead. The torches from the halfway point to the Tyr were still lit
although faintly. More cheers erupted from the wagons as the faintly lit fire
was seen by All. They began to break into song - at first a few voices, but soon
the cave reverberated with their cheerful song.
Iím a rover, Iím a rambler,
And I rove
From town to town,
With my wagon and my ponies,
Thereís no place
Iíd settle down.
Iím a rover, Iím a trader,
And I trade
my goods divine,
for foreign foods, cloth and trinkets,
to be traded
again in time.
Iím a rover, Iím a crafter,
And I make
Bright jewelry fine,
Brooches, buckles, rings and pendants,
My own design.
Iím a rover, Iím a rambler,
And I rove
From town to town,
With my wagon and my ponies,
Thereís no place
Iíd settle down.
Viresse listened quietly as they sang. They were a cheerful lot. Which surprised
her - she assumed that all wagon traders had a hard lot in life
- but perhaps it
was less awful than she thought. Perhaps there was a sense of freedom that
wagon-traders had. Only one thing to do and they could do it any way they
pleased, as long as they did it. She thought about that. It was kind of nice.
But then she turned for a second and looked to Rube. But there must be times
they hate it too, having to deal with people they don't like, having to be
rushed and carrying things they didn't know they would, like Viresse being
sprung on Rube. She wondered if he knew of her travelling with him. She wondered
if they held off on telling him until the last minute so he couldn't back out.
She assumed they did. Why? Well, like Rube had said, no one tells the laymen
As she led the wagons forward, a glowing light seemed to break ahead. As they
continued moving, Viresse realized that the light was getting brighter, and
soon the opening of the cave crested, light spilling out toward them in a
friendly illuminated embrace. The bright, flaming torches of Tyr Thromgolin
reached them, and soon the song changed into happy cheers
from the traders. Viresse smiled under their cloak,
for she was happy to have done it. They would
not have made it had it been for her - and she was a
drow. She wondered how many
knew other than Rube and the toothless wagonmaster. Not many, she assumed. And
it may be better that way - for if they found out, maybe they were more liable to
be upset with her. But she hoped they wouldn't, she did just save them a whole
lot of time.
The group made their way into town and Viresse saw a boy standing near the main road
with a small brigade of dwarven men. She smiled to him, and waved gently, then
jerked her thumb back to gesture to where his father was. He smiled and took off
running, and clambered into the wagon beside his father. Viresse guided Rube's
horses to a stop before the dwarven men, who moved as a unit to unseat the
injured dwarf they transported. The dwarven man seemed far more relieved than he
had in the darknes of the tunnel, and was cursing far less. Perhaps shock had
set in, or maybe even he was glad to be in town. Either way, he was carted off
to be taken care of. Viresse waited for the brigade to disappear before she
jumped back up into the seat beside Rube.
The toothless wagonmaster pulled up beside
Rube. "Thank ya so much, ma'am. We'd
a been stuck outside all night, and I'd not known where my boy was. If you ever
need anything - just tell any trader you know Mr. Ian Woon, and they'll
accomodate you as if you were their own sister! At least they better, if they
don't want their pearlies lookin' like mine! " He cackled at his own joke and
rolled off into the center of town. "Welcome to Tyr Thromgolin!"
behind him as he rumbled into the crowds, then began to sing the song they sang
in the tunnel.
Viresse sat for a few seconds, it felt good to be nice sometimes, even if it was
Rube turned slowly to look at Viresse. " Mr. Ian Woon!" He muthed the words a
few times as a wabe of surprise and shock washed over him. With maybe a hint of
awe. "Wow, Viresse. You saved Mr. Ian Woon from trashing a shipment!" He sunk
his head and could only mouth the name Ian Woon to his self and shake his head.
He seemed overhwelmed by the idea.
"Who's Ian Woon?" Viresse asked.
Rube quickly turned to her, surprised. "He's one of the greatest traders I've
ever heard of. It's rumored he can ship a wagon from Strata to Nyermersys in
thirty days. I'd never met him before - I don't know anyone who has either, at
least, not until now." He smirked. "And I believe it. He's a good, quick man.
And you saved his royal trader behind from a doomed shipment."
Rube outlined what he had heard of Mr. Ian Woon as they travelled through Tyr
Thromgolin. Ian Woon had apparently fought off a tribe of orcs with a crossbow
and a kev'lor horse. He was known by the Maeverhim as to be one of the most kind
and trustworthy traders of the human race. He had even been known to travel
through the Paelelon without incident - which piqued Viresse's interest. She was
amused by Mr. Ian Woon, and remembered to keep his name in a corner of her
Viresse and Rube clattered up to a large building, if that's what one could call
it, for it was built into the massive cavern wall. It was intricately
with dwarven runes carved into the face and was rife with grains of gems, silver
and gold. It seemed that this corner was chosen for this building.
Rube halted the wagon and jumped off. He started to walk toward the door.
Viresse was ready to follow but Rube quickly and silently gestured for her to
keep put. He then quickly turned around and walked to the door of the place. He
knocked, then waited impatiently as he seemed to fidget uncomfortably as he
stood by the door.
From what Viresse could see, the door opened, and a human answered. Which
surprised Viresse - this was a dwarven town, wasn't it? Rube gestured to the
shipment, and then spoke to the person at the door a bit longer. The person
nodded, then closed the door. Rube turned away and returned to the wagon.
"This is where this stuff goes,"
he noted, and then turned back toward the door.
"That was a human..." Viresse noted.
"Yeah," Rube answered, still watching the door.
"Why are they here?"
Rube turned around. "Sometimes we wagonmasters don't ask questions. We just do
what we're told and ship what we're given. That way if something goes down, we
have no knowledge of the situation." He bowed his head in thought, then looked
up. "Well, it's goign to take a while to unload this wagon, so go ahead and
entertain yourself with the Tyr. It's not too big, so don't worry about getting
lost. If you get bored, go ahead and come back here, but keep a low profile."
Viresse furrowed her brows. She was confused by Rube's cold turn of self, but
she shrugged. This was business yet again, and she didn't want to ruin his
business by her presence. "Fine,"
she said, and climbed down off the wagon. She
turned and left Rube and the wagon, and wandered off into the Tyr.