We stood in front of two dwarves on guard before the entrance to Kadar Gravning. They spoke in Dwarven. José cast his spell and quietly translated the conversation for us. They asked us to state our names and business. They were well-armed, but had no bows or any other distance weapons.

Goldrim stood forward, answered with his name and that we were looking for the famous lost Kadar Gravning. "We recently came into posession of a journal with hints to find it. We're on our way to Kadar Helgad, but since we're here, we'd like to visit. Re-establish contacts. Have some ale and dinner."

They laughed and one replied, "Well I don't know what's been going on, but we just found this place and we claim salvage on it, so bugger off!"

That annoyed Goldrim. Apparently that's not following the rules of dwarven hospitality. Although dwarves who re-discover lost holds tend to be possessive about them. "We're going to look around, too. This is Kadar Gravning! That's no way to treat a fellow dwarf and his friends. Call your lord and tell him he's got guests!"

Miara muttered that they had no more claim to the place than we did. Except, of course, that they were inside and we were outside.

"So, who's your lord?"

"My last lord was King Mendri"

They glowered and drew their weapons. "Mendri killed his father."

"No he didn't"

"Yes he did."

"I saw the whole thing, and it didn't happen that way. Ogres killed the old king."

"Go back to your father-killing 'lord' and tell him that he will not be allowed to disgrace the stones of Kadar Gravning!"

"And who would your lord be?"

"We are part of the royalist party who would see Mendri eliminated."

Goldrim growled, "I didn't ask your political affilation, I asked who is your lord."

One of them disappeared into the hold. We didn't back up, and the warriors readied their weapons. Miara said quietly that there will be more coming, not that anyone would be surprised since we've been shouting at each other. She gently swung her two swords, nonchalantly.

Miara clearly preferred to speak with steel, but Kyuskay wanted to avoid an attack. He said he wanted to talk to the guard. She assented, and Goldrim and Kyuskay walked up closer to the remaining guard. Goldrim asked us to keep an eye on the chest that he set down on the ground, and I sat down on it. Not that I could do anything to a dwarf who wanted to take it, but if a dwarf got through to me to steal the chest, a lot more would have gone wrong before. and the chest would be our last worry.

José continued to translate for us. Goldrim said Kyuskay wanted to discuss a peaceful solution. He continued walking towards the guard, trying to provoke an attack, I think.

When he was about 20 yards away, the other guard returned with ten more, about five of whom carried crossbows. Kyuskay bowed politely, but continued forward. "I'm trying to find a peaceful solution." Goldrim translated his words into dwarvish. Worried, he added a reminder that Kyuskay was unarmed.

An older member of the new party said, in a very I've-been-killing-people-for-a-long-time voice, "Tell your friend to stop". Goldrim relayed the 'request'.

I guess the tone of voice got to him, if nothing else, because he stopped and bowed again. "With whom am I negotiating?"

"Your maker." Goldrim replied, "Oh, please, just give the boy a name." But he tried to translate. It didn't make it into Nipponese very well. The dwarves view their gods in a very craftsman-like manner that is apparently completely alien to the Nipponese system of deities.

Kyuskay said, "I am not an apprentice, I am a master." Goldrim relayed his quiet statement with a shrug. The play on words didn't really work in any language. Kyuskay continued, "I trained Og, the king of the Yetsin Valley." Goldrim didn't want to translate that, but Kyuskay insisted, and he did.

The dwarf answered, "Go back to Mendri, and tell him if he wants to negotiate, he needs to send someone who can speak dwarvish."

"We are, but you're not negotiating."

"What do you want?"

"A bit of ale, dinner. We're just passing through."

"We can accomodate that. Keep passing."

"It's late in the day."

"Afraid of the dark?"

"We would prefer to spend the night in a nice dwarf place."

"This isn't a nice place and we're closed."

Kyuskay turned to Goldrim and asked him, "Are these the dwarves who are to march under the chaos banner from your vision?" Goldrim shook his head, "No."

Kyuskay asked Goldrim if they would respond to a challenge of single combat. He said they probably would. If Kyuskay dies, then we leave. It seemed a little harsh to me. I looked at Miara, but she stood quietly, swords out but relaxed. I suppose that sort of thing is common among the Nipponese, although it sounded barbaric to me.

Goldrim announced to the dwarves, "My friend wants to engage a warrior of your choosing in single combat. If he wins, we can stay the night. If you win, we will leave."


"He's human, to begin with, and he's not even from anywhere near here." Apparently Goldrim didn't think much of the plan.

"So why is he negotiating for Mendri?"

"He's not. He's negotiating for us." Goldrim gestured back at us.

"And the party's not from Memdri?"


"So you're not here to negotiate for Mendri."

"Nope. I haven't seen him for many years."

"Then move on."

Kyuskay called them cowards and turned his back and walked away as Goldrim relayed his poor opinion of them. He turned and walked with Kyuskay and asked, "That's it?"

"I'm done. I'm not talking to unworthy cowards."

They returned to us and Goldrim asked, "What do we do now?"

Miara pointed out that finding the back way in was probably our best choice. If it's blocked, we can try using the Stone of Stones. Everyone agreed that was the thing to do, to my relief. I did not think facing down several crossbows was a good idea.

We moved on towards Kadar Helgad to retrieve the Stone of Stones first. We will probably need it. Miara reminded us we'll need a body to get into the pillar room, so Ashe collected a deer on our way.

A couple of days later, we reached Kadar Helgad. We had no difficulty getting into the pillar room, and the guardian didn't appear. Goldrim spoke his piece and took the Stone of Stones, after complaining non-stop about the ever-present mud and metal-eating worms.

We hoped that maybe we could find a tunnel from Kadar Helgad to Kadar Gravning, but Goldrim stopped us before we could even start looking. He said this was a minor hold and wouldn't have been attacked and wouldn't have been attached to the tunnel network.

At Kadar Gravning, there is the stream, the natural cave, and the dwarven doors in the back. The stream exits from the door itself, flowing under it. Kyuskay suggested we somehow block their water and then poison it. Goldrim said no dwarven hold would be that easily breached. But there's another entrance somewhere, and we should be able to find it with enough searching.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~