A Road Well Travelled: August 2007

2 August

The Underground Gulag

I have escaped once again from the Goblins. Those devious creatures had set a trap for me as I approached the mine. It seemed strange that no-one came to meet me in the open, but I foolishly took this as caution from the Dwarves. As I cautiously entered the mines, I was horrified to be met not by my friends the Dwarves, but hideous Goblins instead. I had no time to react before I was overpowered and dragged deeper into the chambers and caverns.

After what seemed like an age of being prodded and pushed through the tunnels I was forced into what I can only describe as an underground Gulag. I saw the race of Dwarves being forced to dig deep pits and fresh tunnels in search of the third elemental crystal that Yermej sought.

For over a month I have toiled against my will, but during all that time I spoke to as many of the Dwarves as possible and sowed the seeds of rebellion within their minds. After convincing them that my ideas would prove successful, we began to co-operate with the Goblins, ceased the skirmishes and dissent and worked even harder. The result of this saw the Goblin guard gradually reduced to just a handful of overlords.

Yesterday we made our move. One of the Dwarves had spent time moulding a lump of freshly mined quartz into the shape of a stracyl, and after smuggling it down to the tunnel face, he called out for the Goblins to come and collect the prize that Yermej sought so badly. Being a selfish, greedy race they all rushed down to collect the stracyl and were quickly ambused. I created a mini rockfall within the tunnel to hold them back and delay their exit, before the Dwarves and myself promptly headed into the secret tunnels to make our escape through the lesser known exits of the mines.

We emerged from the mountains on the Western side, at the source of the Rushing River and waited until the dark to head back towards our army. After reporting my return quickly to Rhonas and the others, I am now heading for a rest before we decide on our next move.

3 August

Orreg no more

The true horrors of the Goblin invasion of the mines are becoming apparent as the Dwarves begin to talk of their experiences. Most of the Dwarves speak of how a strange mist rolled into the mines, and then they remember no more until they were all in one of the large caverns and surrounded by Goblins.

It was here that Orreg stood to defend his people from the Goblins, and fought so bravely that he almost reached the Great Goblin before being carried off into the lower deeps. Later that day shocking news spread throughout the cavern that the Goblins had in fact taken Orreg down to the pre-annihilation deeps and thrown him into the ancient chasm. Orreg was my friend, and I feel the loss too.

Following the murder of Orreg, the Goblins split the Dwarves into three work parties and marched them North through the tunnels into three seperate areas where they were forced to dig caverns and tunnels in search of the fire crystal. Those Dwarves that were either too old or weak to dig were taken from the groups and have not been seen again.

As I look around me now I see a broken race of Dwarves seeking answers. We cannot give them what they need, but we can offer them support and the promise that we will never let Yermej and his Goblin army win.

4 August

An Elf in the mines

A short meeting with representatives of all the races present has decided that we must return to the caverns, seal them from the Goblins and then continue to dig in order to reach and remove the fire crystal before Yermej does.

Rhonas has volunteered to enter the caves along with a mining party, Menag, and other volunteers from the human race. They will be given a supply of food and water, and Menag insists on taking his drout stracyl so that they can communicate quickly and efficiently with the rest of us.

10 August

Back to the Gamot

It's a waiting game at the moment. Our massed army sits at the edge of the mountains until we know more about what we are facing.

The dragons are flying regularly over the mountains to observe what Yermej and his Goblin army are doing. It seems that they are more concerned with pulling the Northern side of the mountains apart in their search for the Fire Crystal than they are with the army that awaits them on the Southern side.

Our mining party have reported to us that they have sealed themselves into the mountain, and opened up an old escape tunnel. They are now assessing which of the three mine faces to start digging into.

I have been given uplifting news from Kinrew. It seems that the location of the air crystal may have been found. I am preparing to return there for a Gamot during which I hope to learn more. Tomepicker is pushing at my side, so I guess I am taking him along too!

11 August

The Location is Revealed

The Gamot was hastily arranged, as delaying it was not an option in the current climate. Anleim explained to all that after intense searching throughout the land by wizard, dragon, horse and man,  the air crystal had been found. It was in plain view all the time it seems!

Sitting on an overgrown wooden plinth in the flood plains between Soulhill and Midmarch, the crystal that could alter the entire future of our land has been waiting to be found.

Anleim has organised a guard duty to protect this location, and also set up observation points to the North, South, East and West of the area to give advanced warning of anyone approaching.

I must admit, he has been very thorough in his preparations, and there is nothing more that I can suggest to add. My only thought is that I would have probably kept the location quiet, rather than making this fuss over it just in case Yermej has found a way to infiltrate the Gamot.

I must have a word with Anleim and express my worries.

12 August

Wizardry Deception

I found time to speak to Anleim about my concerns over the air crystal.

Oh that devious wizard! He had already anticipated this and has in fact given the Gamot false details about the location of the crystal. I have been given more information, but cannot reveal this for fear of my parchments being stolen and used against us. Anleim will be travelling to that location - again for fear of Yermjej discovering he is not saying where - but will keep in touch through his drout stracyl.

For the first time for months I am starting to feel like we may be hindering Yermej.

16 August

Rustling

I have returned to the edge of the Great Mountains. Our troops seem to be in good spirits, for although we are still awaiting a battle, we are well fed and entertained.

However Scairle, a farmer from the plains near Midmarch, has reported that his cattle are beginning to disappear in large numbers. He says that this is going to cause meat shortages for our troops. This is an uneeded distraction as we try and focus on the weeks ahead.

Tomepicker is not happy at the possible reduction in meat rations. He looks disgusted. I hope no one upsets him at the moment.

19 August

Goblin Raids

The rustling of our cattle has continued, and we know where the cattle is going.

Goblin raids are taking the beasts - more than likely for food - and they have now started to attack the outlying crofts and holdings in the countryside.

I have been carried on the back of Cranbol the dragon over the plains and witnessed for myself the smouldering remains of several farmsteads.

22 August

Armed and Ready

The dwarves have been busy creating arms for our army. We are now ready to take the battle to Yermej and the Goblins. With brand new swords and armour, our troops are eager to put them to use against Goblin skin.

23 August

Let the Battle Begin

We march north through the mountains to the three Islands in the Bay of Arboria. Our dragon escort flying above us has reported no sign of anybody on the paths ahead and so we should be able to make steady progress in the cool mountain air.

The men have begun to sing a marching song, and some of the Elves are accompanying them with melodic tunes.

To say we are heading into a war, spirits are remarkably high.