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Chapter 11
The Lost Ironman

When the training period was done, Gustaff's and Notus' Khan sent them to meet Ohiimen, a distant relative to him, at the Dancing Snake Inn, a few days walk from the camp outside Alda-Chur. Ohiimen would be taken there to see how a Stormbull lives and to see something other than the plains of Prax. Gustaff and Notus asked Boutros if he wanted to join on the trip, which he did as he was tired of sitting in Alda-Chur and doing nothing.
The following morning they left and had an uneventful days walk to the Bloated Inn, the roughest Inn in the whole Sartar. They took a room there and went to take some beer in the bar. A Gustaff challenged a big guy to wrestle arm against him, and he accepted it. Immediately betting for and against Gustaff took place. When they started wrestling the man took Gustaff by surprise as he took his weight on his side. Gustaff lost the match soon as he was not prepared for cheating like that. He called the big guy "Looser" and the man got angry. The man tried to hit Gustaff but missed. Gustaff hit back and did not miss. Again betting started. But after a few rounds of hits and misses from both side the man makes a huge hit on Gustaff's chest and takes out Gustaff. When Gustaff fell down the man kicked once on him and left. Notus healed Gustaff and they continued to drink. Later a man pushed Notus to get a drink. Notus pushed back and man fell on a third man. From this a general brawl started and some people got bruised. It eventually calmed and ended.
The next day they passed the Boar Bridge. When they continue they passed Brewer's Inn and ate a very god meal there. After passing Herongreen a Lunar check point was met. They were from the Lunar Road Administration and were doing an enquiry about travelling here. Everyone was one at a time asked from where they were, what they were doing here, how much do they use the roads here, are the roads well kept, etc. Then when they had answered to the questions they were free to leave. In the evening the Boutros, Gustaff and Notus arrived to the Dancing Snake Inn. They took a room for the night and asked the bartender if he knew Ohiimen. He did not know who that might be, so Notus shouted is Ohiimen here. A big Praxian came and said he was Ohiimen. Ohiimen had met another guy called Zing during the way there and became friend with him. Zing looked very funny thought Notus, with that yellow skin and funny eyes. He was also admitted to the party. They all sat down and had some beers during the evening. Later a man approached them and presented himself as Gabby of Dykene. He asked if they could take a package to Dwarf Mine for him. He would give them 50L each before and 50L when they came back for the job. They party started haggling and an agreement was found at 100L each, but an oath spell was cast to take the package to Isidilian the Wise at Dwarf Mine. After that they took some more beer before they went to sleep.
The next morning all five of them, Boutros, Gustaff, Notus, Ohiimen and Zing started to walk or ride to Dwarf Mine. In the afternoon they came to the Boar Bridge where about fifteen men from the Engoli tribe was taking toll for passing their lands. Notus remembered that they were called head-hunters by other tribes. The leader challenged Gustaff to a "Shin-dun-dun" knife duel. It meant that both had one arm tied in a rope which was connected to the other one. The leader was in every way superior to Gustaff, who did not have a chance. In the evening they came again to the Bloated Boar Inn. Gustaff saw the man he had lost to and challenged him to a rematch. The modified arm wrestling started very well for Gustaff but then he suddenly lost all grip and lost again to the big guy.
During the following day they came to Alda-Chur and went to Geo's to talk to Greybeard, a dwarf who knew something about Dwarf Mine. Boutros did not go to the Inn, but went to see his friends. It was agreed that they would all meet the next morning at the Northern gate. Gustaff and Notus told once again about how the had killed a Skybull, while the Yelmalio (Boutros) had jumped down scared. Late in the evening Gussack, or Greybeard, came and had some drinks. Notus and Gustaff tried to interview him about Dwarf Mine but they got almost no answers. Very late just before they were going to sleep, a dozen city guards rushed in and arrested everyone, except Gussack, present for conspiracy against Yelmalio. They were all taken to the guard tower and put in jail. In the morning they were all put in front of Harvar Ironfist, who sent them all to the mines for a week in hard labour. A long chain was attached to everybody to take them to the mines. Gustaff, Notus, Ohiimen and Zing bribed themselves out from the chain and left for the Northern gate. Boutros had been waiting since early morning wondered where they had been, and they told him. After that they continued to journey. The next evening they arrived to Dwarf Ford. Boutros had a feeling that somebody (non-human?) as following them but they could not see anybody. An ambush was made, but nobody came. A camp was made after passing the ford and entering the woods. During Ohiimen's guard he heard that somebody was sneaking behind him. He attacked and hit a broo who then fled into the darkness. Later that night Notus had this dream:

I was standing on a small hill surrounded by a moor with a small group of trees. A thick fog was laying over the moor. Crows were flying over the trees. Monsters with two voices were shouting and coming out of the fog. Warriors were fighting against the monsters, but their weapons and shields shattered. A beautifully smiling woman with a child approached me and took away my weapons. Then she started to push me against the monsters. That's were I woke up very scared and in full sweat.

The following morning the party arrived at last to Dwarf Mine. There were giant statues, that look like they would live, on the cliff where the massive doors into Dwarf Mine was. Funny brass "pipes" are stuck out of the cliff from windows. There were iron dwarf guards at the open doors, which took the party to a huge sized hall. On the ceiling there were quartz crystals glistening and shining up the hall. A dwarf asked "Why are you here?" When he heard the answer he sent the party to the waiting area, which was situated a mile outside Dwarf Mine. There were three dwarfs among others waiting for admittance. On the fourth morning a worker dwarf came at last to take the party to meet Isidilian. When they came into a room there was sitting a dwarf, who presented himself as Ubaurik. He then said that he would act as Isidilians stand in. They left the package to him. He opened it and inside it was a huge iron finger, about a feet long. Ubaurik called four iron dwarfs to guard the party as he went away for a while. Ubaurik came back with another dwarf who took the party to a guest room with eight sleeping alcoves. A servant came with five plates with some kind of food. It tasted like sand. When Gustaff asked what it was the servant said it was A-3046, which consists of nine different stone matters, vegetable matter and animal matter. Very delicious. After a sometime Isidilian came and told about the finger. It was form an Ironman. He then told about heroic dwarves in the past and used the term "When we ...", which made it sound like he had been alive when all this had happened during the Chaos Wars. The dwarves had built a castle, in Snake-Pipe Hollow, where had been an Ironman that was lost. The place was called the Cobbled Ruins, which were the ruins of this castle. He asked if the party could take the task of securing the place and guard it as an excavation team would dig out the lost Ironman. The reward would be 2 ENC of untempered iron or one small piece of armour or 1000L. They could also borrow some armour for this task but it had to be given back afterwards. Gustaff, Notus and Tiny who had arrived there, said immediately "Yes!" as they would have a chance of killing chaos. Boutros, Ohiimen and Zing agreed but not as quickly as the others. They got the directions how to walk to the ruins. It would take a few days to walk there.
The next morning they left. At midday they came to Dwarf Ford. A large gorp was slowly floating down river. As it was noticed, disruptions started to fly. It just kept on "whistling?!" or singing something. After many disruptions it stopped making this noise and was dissolved. Tiny saw that something shiny fell from it. Zing could swim and eventually got a silver dagger. They followed the river and entered Snake-Pipe Hollow. In the evening when they made camp a "hunchback" came there. Notus felt in his leg exactly as it feels like when something chaotic is near and he tried to attack the man. The man then fled and Notus was unable to catch him. The next day they saw a four meter giant with a halfling riding on his shoulders. The party tried to hide but they saw the party and approached. The party cast some spells just in case. The giant demanded 10L as toll for using their land. Gustaff and Zing wanted to pay, Notus and Ohiimen did not want to pay but could do it. Boutros and Tiny said they would not pay in any case and attacked the giant. Tiny killed immediately the halfling with a fine hit to its leg. The next round the giant crushed Boutros chest and he died. Then the giant crushed Ohiimen's leg and he passed out. After many rounds Tiny killed the giant. It was a heavy toll Boutros had to pay for not wanting to pay 10L. He was burnt to ashes. The sun did not walk over the sky as it usually does, but it jumped forward every now and then. A yellow man came walking towards them along the river. He presented himself as Obumoto, a fierce warrior. After some discussions he could join the party. In the evening the party came to Toadstone and made camp. Two other men came approaching and one of them presented himself as Rolan. They were on their way from Ironspike to Trade Valley. They camped also with the party.
In the morning Rolan and his companion left. After some walking the party turned Southeast to come to the Cobbled Ruins. At sometime during the morning both Notus and Tiny stumbled. Nearby was very funny looking grass, which with and incredible speed attacked Tiny. He could shake the grass off his hand where it had started to grow. The grass was running grass, a chaotic type of grass. It fled before the party had time to kill it. In the afternoon they came to the Cobbled Ruins. There were cobblestones very neatly arranged as a courtyard and some remnants of walls. A search around the area was made and they found some Malia's Helper Roses which were turn off the ground. The Malia's helper roses have a disease spirit inside the flower, and when you smell on it, the spirit attacks you. They look very nice, with white-turquoise flowers. Also an ancient dwarven tool was found. In one side of the ruins a small hill had a cave on its side. There inside the cave was the castle which the party was looking for. It was with the magic of Orlanth and Kero Fin the castle was put inside the hill. After climbing up the side and entered the cave they found lots of ancient bones. When they searched the bones they found ten ancient gold coins. The castle was a triangular castle with three towers of which one had broken down. Inside the courtyard was on one side a mishmash of cables of metal, a globe which had small lightning's jumping around, but mostly in one direction. A tube with liquid was also on one wall. There was some kind of writing as a scale to the liquid. (Later the dwarves explained that the glob was a chaos detection unit and the lightning's showed where the closest chaos was. The tube was a meter of how much chaos was near. The scale said the amount.) Before nightfall three rooms were examined. There were two skeletons which were disposed in one room, the second was empty and the third had an altar and an armour hanging over the altar. It was obviously an temple for some god which the party did not know. Zing took the armour away very cautiously. It was very light and fitted him perfectly. The tower behind the temple was empty. The night went quietly, except that now it was Ohiimen who had the dream.
The following morning when Ohiimen went to look for his Sable, it had disappeared. There were some broo tracks there. Ohiimen's heart broke as his mount was robbed. But he could not do anything because he lost the tracks. In the castle more rooms were examined. In one room there was a ice cube with a broo inside it. Gustaff, Notus and Tiny thought that it was a proper place for a broo. In the same room was a metal box with three plates of different colours. Also it had a slit which was the size of a gold coin. After pressing the plates and nothing happened a coin was put in the slit and then when Gustaff pressed the red plate a red can came out of the box. The party had got cans from the dwarves and a tool to open the cans. They opened this can and tasted the stuff inside. Tiny tasted first and tricked everybody else to think that it tasted very good. Then everybody else tasted. It tasted awful! Obumoto said it tasted as bad everything else here, and it nothing compared to the delicious food he had had at home. In a room at the second tower there was a temple for Orlanth which was smeared with dung and dirt. The following room was an armoury and in the back of it was the Jolanti. In the next room had been the stables and there was a skeleton horse standing and greeting the party as they looked inside. Immediately, Ohiimen, Tiny and Zing attacked the horse. It kicked Ohiimen badly in one leg but he could fight on. It was Zing who broke down the head after all other parts were crushed. Near the broken down tower was a temple for Kero Fin. It was in perfect shape, with nothing done to it. After the last rooms were checked the area was secured. During the following night, Zing and Obumoto heard something near the horses, but too late as that rode away with the horses. Now the party had no more burden animals.
The following day the dwarves arrived. First a big dust cloud was approaching, then they could see that it was done by a Jolanti, which carried the dwarves. They were fifteen all in all. The were led by an iron dwarf. There were also Ubaurik as a scribe and a dwarf using the Jolanti. Then there were worker dwarves. The dwarves looked very efficient when they started to measure the places. The party kept guard all the time. Two guards were at the entrance to the cave, two with the dwarves and two resting. A few days went very quietly, as nothing special happened. Notus found a plant of which fruit gives a permanent rise in strength, constitution or dexterity. But luckily Notus remembered that the fruit also gave a chaos feature. He then destroyed the plant. On the fourth night the guards sounded an alarm as spectral Scorpion men were approaching. The were about twenty. All the dwarves and the party rushed to confront them. Everybody of the party got one Scorpion man against him. The Scorpion men attacked with both one claw and the sting. The only problem was firstly that they could not be harmed with normal weapons, it had to be magic or weapons with magic on. Therefor it was Tiny who killed first one the Scorpion men as he has an iron battle-axe and Bladesharp 4. Notus was the following to kill one of the Scorpion men. He helped Gustaff and Ohiimen by casting a Bladesharp 2 to their weapons. Zing was made unconscious by one of the Scorpion men sting as it sucked away all Zing's MP:s. Tiny came to rescue Obumoto whose weapons were of no use against the Scorpion men. Notus helped Ohiimen and it was Gustaff who helped Zing and soon all the Scorpion men were killed. The rest of the night went quietly.
The next morning a man was seen walking towards the ruins. The guards prepared themselves but then when the man came closer Gustaff, Notus and Tiny recognised him as their old friend Torgar. He had been left in Alda-Chur and had been looking for the party for a week and now had finally found them. Later in the afternoon a huge thing started to approach the ruins from the Shadow Table. Quite soon it turned out to be two giants, one 20 meter and one 5 meter. The BIG giant screamed: "FOOD!" with a mighty voice. An agreement was made that the dwarves would kill the big giant with the help of their Jolanti, while the party would defend against the smaller giant. First missiles were used where Notus and Ohiimen made impales in the giant. Some blood came running from the wounds. On the first round no special happened but then on the second round Gustaff and Zing made a special hit against the giant. And then Notus criticalled and the giants left leg went limp and it fell down. And on the next round Gustaff made again a special hit and killed the giant. He started to call himself Giantslayer after that. The Dwarves had more problems with the bigger giant. The giant first cut of one arm of the Jolanti and then used it as a club against the other arm. Some worker dwarves put a keg at the giants feet and a HUGE explosion occurred soon after that. One leg of the giant was cut of by the blast and the giant started to scream and jumped away on one leg. Two of the dwarves were dysfunctional as Ubaurik said it. He also told the party that he believed, that at noon next day the excavation would be done and they could lift up the Ironman. The rest of the day went quietly. At about four o'clock in the morning Notus and Tiny, who were guards, thought that they saw someone approaching the two dysfunctional dwarves. They woke up Torgar and went to look closer. When they came closer it looked like a Broo and Tiny felt as something chaotic was near. Then Notus, Tiny and Torgar charged. Notus was first there and he hit the broo in the head. The broo fell down unconscious and then Torgar finished it off. The broo had been impregnating one of the dwarves and a fire was started to burn the broo and the dwarf. Ubaurik had waken up and he agreed on burning the one dwarf but not on burning the other dysfunctional dwarf as Tiny had hoped.
In the following morning a funny box with lost of cables was taken out and many ropes were attached to wheels on an axle of the box. The other ends of the ropes went through many small wheel constructions put in small boxes. From the wheel constructions some thick rope went around the Ironman. Then a dwarf started to rotate a handled and the box started to make some noise and from it came smoke. The Stormbull's were convinced that it was chaos and it took Ubaurik some time to explain that it was not chaotic. And the suddenly the axle started to rotate and the ropes started to wind themselves around the wheels. The Ironman started to rise slowly up from where it had been buried. But the 10 Broos came out of nowhere and attacked the dwarves and the party. Notus hit immediately on one broo and the broo fell down with one leg limp. Notus also noticed that somebody was trying to sneak from behind to the Ironman. Notus let Gustaff continue against the broo and went against the man. Tiny was the first to kill a broo on the next round. He then ran against a Jack O'Broo who was harmonising worker dwarves. When Notus came close to the man he recognised him as the merchant who had sent them on the mission with the package to the dwarves. As Notus started to talk to the man he was hit by a Madness spell cast by the merchant. Notus fell unconscious and was out of action for the rest of the fight. The following round Ohiimen hit a broo in the head and it fell down unconscious, but not dead. Ohiimen had to finish it off the next round. Then when Tiny came to the Jack O'Broo he was harmonised and could nothing. The broo shouted: "I am the greatest!" and slapped Tiny in the face. Torgar had seen that Notus had fallen down and left the broo he was attacking with Obumoto to Obumoto. He came close to the merchant and was hit badly in his arm, which was severed. Gustaff luckily observed this and left the downed broo and sent the healing spirit to rescue Torgar. He then himself went against the merchant. The merchant chopped Gustaff's left arm off and Gustaff was dying. Meanwhile Ohiimen had closed in on the Jack O'Broo and he attacked it. Tiny shook off his harmonisation and also attacked the broo. The broo made the mistake of trying to parry Ohiimen and not Tiny. And then he missed his parry, so Tiny had an open chance of killing the broo, which he did. Obumoto also at last killed his opponent. When the merchant saw that three men were closing in on him, he cast a spell and disappeared. Ohiimen had time to save Gustaff from dying. Zing also killed his opponent. Some of the party had been hit and had to be healed while the dwarves continued to work with the box and lifting up the Ironman. Obumoto, Gustaff and Zing had caught a disease of which Gustaff stood against the disease, while Obumoto only got a mild variant of the shakes. Zing caught a disease on his eyes and lost every day some of his eyesight. The Ironman was lifted on a transportation sledge. Then the Jolanti started to draw the sledge and everybody followed. Surprisingly nothing happened even if they were in the Snake-Pipe Hollow. In the middle of the night Obumoto and Tiny shouted alarm as they saw the merchant near the Ironman. The merchant cast once again a spell and disappeared. Obumoto who was closest hit the fleeing invisible man, at least he said he had hit something. The rest of the night went quietly.
The next day and night went without any unusual events and they came on the third day to Dwarf Mine. There the dwarves took the Ironman inside and said to the party to wait in a room. The diseases were cured and Zing got some funny items in front of his eyes sitting on his nose. They were said to be fragile things these round objects of glass. If he would not use them he would get -30% in all actions that needed his sight. Gustaff and Notus bought an Iron plate helm for their salary, while Tiny had so much money, that he could by himself iron plate armour on his arms. The borrowed equipment had to be given back. It took some days before all the items were completed and the party could continue from Dwarf Mine. Notus noticed that his skills in climbing, evaluation, world lore, searching, sense chaos, 1-h sword and missile attack had improved. Ohiimen noticed that his skills in listening, searching, world lore, 1-h axe and missile attack as well as his 1-h axe and shield parry had improved. Ohiimen bought himself a new Sable as a mount. He had felt very empty without a mount to take care of.

Read how once again the party was very humaine and freed kids from evil Lunars.
Do you want to read how Notus and Tiny killed a Skybull.

Copyright © 1996-2003 by Kim Englund. All rights reserved. How to contact me. Last modified 1.1.2003.

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