Well, that escalated quickly, didn’t it?
Haragin took us into dwarf-town. Sorry, the “Mountainhome of the Brokenhammer.” Hanneke didn’t want to go in because they wouldn’t let her horse in. She really loves that horse. Anyway, we went inside and some ancient longbeard poured water on us because we’re “dirty.” Nice.
Turns out Kolyev never went through “The Dwarfing” or whatever it’s called, so he’s basically still a teenager. Which, I guess, explains some things. He was not happy to be back underground.
We were taken to the Overseer, who I guess is like their King or something, and Catrain entertained some children while the Overseer’s wife tried to get us in trouble. Apparently if someone gives you a glass of wine, you’re not allowed to drink it unless they explicitly say so. Fuck that!
So anyway, the Overseer was very grateful and offered us each any weapon we chose from their stores. Not so great for Esther and me, given that outsize weapons never suit anyone very well, but still a win. Apparently we’re to stick around for a funeral, which involves all the bodies being put into the EVERFLAME or something and then consumed by fire. Which might be a bit awkward given they’re all in the House of Locks now, but how was I supposed to know we’d be invited to the funeral? Anyway, bigger issues: seems the EVERFLAME has gone out. Some sort of big scandal, and one of the longbeards in the back of the Overseer’s throne room is laughing about it.
We went off shopping and getting stuff sorted; I picked up a very well-made (child’s) shortsword as my reward, and bought a very well-made (child’s) chain shirt, which is much easier to move in. Kolyev got Hanneke a magic warhammer, which was quite a find, and the others picked up various bits or commissioned things in the forges.
So we went to the funeral, all dressed up. I was wearing my vestments, because it seemed appropriate. It’s pitch dark down there – did I mention that all these tunnels are ridiculously huge? Dwarves are taller than we are, but not much. Makes me wonder what they’re compensating for…
So all the bodies are laying on this dais thing, which apparently used to be the EVERFLAME but is now just a raised bit of stone. And there’s lots of boring talking in Dwarvish, I assume about stone and fire and stuff, when I hear something from behind us. So I sneak off to investigate – Ace had cast this spell to let us all talk to each other silently, which was incredibly handy. It turns out this chamber has another exit, leading further into the tunnels, and there were these grotesque monsters with giant mouths coming out of it, being sort of shepherded by this much bigger creature. I think they were all demons.
Anyway, it got a bit messy then. The Avenger hid me while I took a shot at the big thing, but then it almost ripped me in two, and of course I was miles away from everyone else and Hanneke wasn’t even there. Between us all, and with a little bit of help from some dwarf soldiers, we managed to kill the big thing (or at least, make it run away) and all but one of the little ones (the other one ran off). But the big thing had teleported across the cavern and ripped into the Overseer before coming back to have a go at me, and then Kolyev saw the laughing longbeard (let’s call him Murderbeard) from earlier shank the Overseer on the floor. Kolyev tried to kill Murderbeard but got dragged to the floor by all the other dwarves.
Esther was wearing that torc we found, and it seems it lets her read every language as well as understand it when she hears it spoken. And on the EVERFLAME dais it said something like “As long as the flames burn and consume the dead then the great evil shall be imprisoned.” Which is a bit awkward, given that this one is already out and dragons are pretty evil, right?
And it sort of seems like maybe there’s a conspiracy here. Sure, one local ruler (Duke Morgan) getting murdered seems noteworthy, but two in less than a week? Of course, the big problem is that we were right there for both of them, and I think Kolyev might have done a good job of convincing everyone that we’re involved. Screaming “he’s a demon summoner!” isn’t usually a strong diplomatic move.