The Fairy Diary Day 456 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

The petition is finalized. The High Fairy has done it up in his own hand on a fresh parchment. He rolled it up, placed his seal upon it and has it encased in a container especially made for it. This he has entrusted to me for safe keeping. 

We leave tomorrow for the capital. 

But not all of us. 

It would be too much to take Cluyjil along with us. Our motives would be suspect if we were to take a dragon with us. 

The dilemma thus created only impacts Dunfallon. He is torn. But he is more convinced that he needs to add his plea in person for our missing friends. And especially in light of the fact that we are asking to use the single most dangerous artifact in our world for personal reasons. 

Rumble has agreed to stay behind here in Nonin-gal-dith, and see to Cluyjil’s care. 

The Fairy Diary Day 445 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

It seems that circumstances continue to conspire against our leaving. All efforts to find the mechanism to raise up the capital have failed. And Bifitz is using the frustration of the dwarves in that matter to gain a bargaining chip for his fate. 

I, for one, think they should not bother. In my opinion the dwarves should just build over the top of it. They could easily double the size of the capital that way. 

Anyway, Merlin has been petitioned to investigate, and he in turn has asked for our help. So once more we went down into the depths. 

Rumble made the crucial discovery down where the goblins ate their way into the lower levels. He found what he believes are the remaining bits of machinery that raised and lowered the capital. So it would seem that my idea of building on top of the old is the very best solution. 

Merlin agreed with my assessment and he thinks we shall leave the implementation to the dwarves. And (thankfully at last) we can prepare to leave for his castle. 

The Fairy Diary Day 442 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Well, our plans changed again. Rumble and I were debating the merits of which path to take back to Merlin’s castle when another group rolled in unannounced. A special force of goblins petitioned the High Fairy for permission to join Gilgorgon’s miners. This was granted. 

Out of curiosity I followed this group into the sunken capital. The other miners stepped aside per Gilgorgon’s orders and the goblins went to work. They unhinged their jaws and attacked the rock with goblin ferocity. And in short order they broke through into Artoxon’s apartments. 

Gilgorgon entreated the dwarves within to surrender with their master – which they did immediately- depositing a gagged and bound Artoxon within the span of a hundred wing beats. 

Soon all the dwarves of the two kingdoms will gather and decide the fate of Artoxon. 

With this rapid change of events, Merlin asked Rumble and me to wait and accompany him back to the castle after things were concluded here. 

This arrangement was very welcome to us both. 

The Fairy Diary Day 440 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Gilgorgon has won his point with the help of Gnoston’s testimony. Although the details going forward are not yet settled. Many of Gilgorgon’s best miners, having refused to come out earlier, remain behind in the sunken capital and have been hard at work trying to dig their way down into Artoxon’s apartments. 

I recalled vaguely the location of the maintenance access that Dunfallon, Gibley and I used to descend to that level and gave them that information. 

Other than that I do not see anything else left for Rumble and me to do. 

Merlin and the High Fairy are staying to see things through, but I thought that Rumble and I should return to Merlin’s castle to check on our dragon handlers. So, we went to Merlin to get his permission. 

But before I could gain an audience with him an alarm was raised from fairy troop sentinels stationed back on the Low-way of the dwarves. 

Another dwarf army headed up by Fliget had arrived. Has he come as our friend or our foe?

The Fairy Diary Day 438 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Once in, I scribbled a note to the High Fairy on the scroll to inform them they could cease their exertion. I knew he had received it when I sensed the structure relax and sink beneath my feet. I went in search of the noise I had heard from the outside. It was no longer muffled. A clear, steady beat echoed throughout. 

After a few wrong turns took me away from its source, I finally stumbled back onto the right track and into Gilgorgon and his dwarves. My sudden appearance shocked them into silence and they dropped their hammers with which they were digging their way out. Gilgorgon’s surprise melted into a wreath of smiles as he recognized me. 

When I told him I was there to help, he thanked me and then pointed to the widening crevice they were creating. 

I wrote another note to the High Fairy and those outside worked once again to raise the structure. This added to the dwarves’ work enough space to allow all to make it out – if they wanted to. Gilgorgon’s miners shored up the opening with any materials they had on hand and there was soon a new way in and out of the sunken capital. 

Gilgorgon came out with me to meet with Merlin and the High Fairy. And the topic for everyone was what to do next about Artoxon. 

The Fairy Diary Day 437 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We located the wall section that houses the gate into the capital, but it turned out not to be what we were hoping for. Having exhausted other possibilities I believed that there may not be any way to get in from the outside – and the thought was growing that its controlling mechanism only operates from within. 

I mentioned this to Rumble and he reminded me that if it had been modified as a trap surely Bifitz would not have allowed access to it from the inside. Otherwise those trapped might possibly find it and extricate themselves. 

We were thus in our quandary when the High Fairy arrived with a phalanx of fairy troops. Merlin explained what Gnoston had told us and our recent findings. Between the two of them they felt they could raise the structure long enough for one of us to slip in to help Gilgorgon. 

I volunteered. 

After removing my armor – retaining only my pendants, I took up a position in front of the gate area. Merlin and the High Fairy took their positions on opposite sides of the structure – and the phalanx of fairies filled in the gaps along the perimeter. 

At a signal from Rumble they lifted all together. When a whoosh of air was sucked into the slim opening I rushed in with it. 

The Fairy Diary Day 436 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Knowing that the capital was somewhere before us, we combed the area looking for any entrance, however small, or any device that would grant us access. Obviously not privy to all the important specifics Gnoston could only direct us by his best guesses. We split up to better cover those possibilities. 

I stopped to listen repeatedly along the vector I was assigned – for snatches of sound came and went. These led me to a long crevice where the noise became a steady hum. I called the others over. 

Gnoston took one look and said that it must mark the outer wall. Merlin nodded and planted the butt of his staff in the visible crack. A ribbon of golden light ignited and spread like a fire and eventually revealed the outline of the sunken capital. 

Yet – still – no entry. 

Leaving Merlin’s staff in place we set out to examine the crack more closely. 

The Fairy Diary Day 435 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

What Gnoston told us along the way about the secrets of the capital of Artoxon rendered us speechless. And awestruck. 

Long ago to counter the invasion of the dark elves Bifitz followed the chosen strategy of Artoxon to hide the capital from them. The ancient goblin, having observed in his youth turtles retracting their heads within their shells, took that idea and designed mechanisms to lower his underground city even further underground. Making it thereby invisible. 

And once the danger from the elves was past, the city again was raised to its normal level. 

But a different strategy was implemented against the incursion of Gilgorgon. The citizens were evacuated into the stronghold surrounding Artoxon’s apartments, and the city (and Bifitz’s palace) were left in place as a trap for Gilgorgon and his dwarves. 

(Hence why Gnoston was told he was too late to enter).

Once Gilgorgon arrived and all were in the capital, it sunk down, entrapping them. 

All at once we understood everything. Why we could not find the capital- and why Gilgorgon was no where to be found. 

Merlin’s remark – “Astounding,” said it all. 

At the wizard’s prodding I took out my scroll and wrote a hasty note to the High Fairy requesting help. 

The Fairy Diary Day 434 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Our advance was brought to a halt not much further up the Low-way of the dwarves. Rumble heard moaning off on one of the side passages. We would have passed by otherwise. 

The sound of pain came from a mound of rags shivering in the dark of that passageway. It was our friend Gnoston. I had to fight back tears at the sight of him. 

Merlin knelt by him, taking a vial from his voluminous robes and giving him a drink of elixir. The transformation in the dwarf was instantaneous. 

He thanked the wizard for the draft and recounted his tale of how he came here. 

Word that Gilgorgon’s army was on the march alarmed his village and soon most fled. Gnoston stayed but was forced out by the arrival of Artoxon’s troops. He made his way up to the capital only to be refused entrance. They told him he was too late. And with the sound of battle behind he fled up the Low-way of the dwarves to where we found him.  

What he shared next caused us to return back to where we last saw Artoxon’s capital. 

The Fairy Diary Day 433 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We came upon an even greater mystery today. Artoxon’s capital was not where it should have been. It was not anywhere at all. Neither the gates to the city nor Bifitz’s palace were evident from its junction with the Low-way of the dwarves. 

Merlin covered the area testing for any hint of enchantment. And found none. 

Rumble walked about with his hands stretched out in front of his face, expecting to bump into buildings turned invisible. But met with nothing. 

At the last we regrouped to discuss what to do next. Not knowing what had happened made any decisions blind ones. In the end we opted to continue on to the goblin outpost. It was closer than the other dwarf stronghold city, and I was looking forward to seeing any living being, even a goblin.