It just didn’t feel right, all those Duergar in the city. How can you have a truce with them? Do they even understand what a truce is? But this isn’t my home and it really isn’t my business so I swallowed down my unease and followed through on our task to deliver the shield. Too many strange interactions with the other dwarves and too many hidden agendas make me even uneasier though. I’d rather be locked in a cage with an orc than dealing with all of this – at least I would know where I stood. But my fellow travellers are so excited by this enormous leap closer to their main goal, and contact with an actual family member has given them an energy I have not seen in them in months so I’m loathe to mention my feelings to any of them.
But of course, as I should know by now, my intuition was right. Everybody knew why we were there and what we were carrying and ‘everyone’ included the Duergar. And that is how Aeric and I ended up down in the forge fighting for our lives (once again) while the rest of the party suffered what I can only assume was a similar fate elsewhere. Aeric fought bravely of course, as the immovable stalwart of our group he is the dwarf I would always want standing by me in a fight. But it was us against many and our usual good fortune did not smile upon us (perhaps the gods were angry that I ignored my intuition for so long?) and after Aeric fell the shield was stolen from us. It was at this point that the rest of our party arrived and after a solid battle I ran after the thieves, unexpectedly running into Prince Grunbar and his guard unit, but ultimately the shield was lost.
It is with shame that I recall what happened next. Still smarting from our rare loss we became engaged in an unseemly shouting match with Prince Horgvar and King Vjorn in front of the entire royal court, with Dragor allowing his hot temper to get the best of him. It was not my place to say anything at the time but I secretly hoped that Ranina and I could put our tracking skills together to help get the shield back and redeem our group (and restore some of my damaged pride too.)
In a race against time and the Duergar we set off to find the shield, or at least the group holding it, but at every step we second guessed ourselves and our enemy. It was as much a battle of wits as it was a test of our tracking skills but nevertheless we ended up at a promising ruin ahead of our competition and I can only guess yet another battle awaits us.
With tensions running so high and emotions clouding the judgement of some I can only hope that we remain clearheaded enough to work as the fantastic unit we have become. After all, ballads are rarely sung about those who lose battles.