Pentatina 22, 1000 PC

Post date: Aug 03, 2009 4:52:43 AM

Okay, the Duergar problem is solved! It was not the ending I was hoping for, but it will suffice.

Yesterday, my companions (and Mask) joined me to investigate what wrong with the adventurers I hired. Along the way, I finally met with Mexkir, leader of the Troll's Bridge kobolds. He professed interest in having is tribe follow my leadership, so we struck a formal deal. Once I helped him to stop the Duergar attacks, he would allow the use of his cave as an outpost for the new city. I am glad that the trade went smoothly; Oli may be formally trained in negotiation skills, but I am not. I usually have to rely purely on charisma (and it does usually serve me well enough).

With that little matter out of the way, my party continued its descent into the cave network. Our first warning of trouble was when we found the bodies of many duergar along the path. As we approached the main cave, we prepared ourselves physically, mentally, and magically. At our best, we stormed into the cave to find several Duergar waiting. Sparta tried to greet them, but he was soon attacked. Amazingly, Sparta dodged the blows and continued trying to speak with the dwarves! He was honest and persistent, but unfortunately, his attackers just were not interested. With great reluctance, we let loose our full arsenal of attacks. The Duergar did possess some basic magical abilities - an enlarging spell and invisibility - but we were already had our most prepared. They did not even stand a chance.

After we finished mopping up the last few resisters, we came upon a cave littered with dwarf bodies. I also confirmed that my hirelings met their end, as their corpses were also present. Apparently, my hired adventurers decided to try slaughtering the dwarves on their own. And while that was an acceptable outcome to the problem, I would have rather they just scouted around like I asked. It does not make me a very good leader if my foreign policy consists of "commit genocide first, negotiate later." I do not feel very good about their actions, but Sparta and I decided it would be best to bring their bodies above to be buried according to their customs. It is a sad fact, but I can afford to make enemies of the Duergar, but not the humans - regardless of which party deserved their fate (if either did).

More disturbing to me than anything was that Wintersky immediately started conversing with the ghosts of the dwarves. I only caught half the conversation, but I wish I heard none of it. I was feeling guilty enough, and I did not need to be reminded that presumably innocent families were killed by men I should have been responsible for. I suppose all I can do is force myself not to dwell on the issue.

Oh yes, and Mask had some sort of breakdown in the aftermath of the fight. She saw the pile of bodies and, crying terribly, teleported away. It seemed uncharacteristic for the mage. I have seen her kill many people with magic similar to my own, so why did she only lose her composure with the Duergar? At least humans has a physical way to express their sadness. I was more responsible for the slaughter than she was, and I feel guilty too, so would I be crying too if I were able to?