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. 

The Fairy Diary Day 431 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

The sights surrounding Gnoston’s village were sickening. Blood smeared swords, broken shields, and spears and hewn limbs marked the places where force met force. 

Strange – there were no whole bodies – only bits and pieces. And upon closer examination even those bits showed signs of being gnawed. But by what? (Or horror of horrors, who)?

Rumble was the first to Gnoston’s home. Thankfully neither our friend (nor his body) was within the ruins. So we hold out hope for his safety. 

It is Merlin’s studied judgment that Gilgorgon’s forces carried the victory. For he kept count and many more of Artoxon’s forces had fallen as compared to Gilgorgon’s. 

We shall take our rest in the one untouched residence in the village and then set out for Artoxon’s capital. 

The Fairy Diary Day 430 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We reached the gates to the Low-way of the dwarves. They had been locked and barred only a moon ago when we passed by on the way from Gnoston’s village towards the stronghold city. Now they were broken asunder. 

Had Gilgorgon and his forces done this?

It would seem the logical conclusion- but ever since the vision of yesterday my thoughts touch continually upon the grinning face of Willie. 

Merlin himself is perplexed as there are no signs of battle – force opposing force on either side of the gates. He is inclined to believe that some other power has done this. And that Gilgorgon and his dwarves passed through without opposition. 

However the question remains- did they turn towards the stronghold city? Or towards Artoxon’s capital?

Rumble asked the wizard to describe the scenes of battle he witnessed via the seer’s stone. Merlin did something better – circumscribing a circle in the air with his staff, we were soon observing the past scene ourselves. 

Our hearts sunk when we realized that the battle between dwarves was playing out in Gnoston’s village. 

The Fairy Diary Day 382 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We were quite some distance from Artoxon’s capital before my companions questioned me about my choice of directions. Rumble, in particular, thought we should return straightaway and deliver Artoxon’s demands to their estranged brethren. And Noralei agreed – adding the thought that we had no business paying a call to the goblins until we had done so. 

The words were no sooner out of her mouth when Merlin appeared before us. Together we gave him a report of our missions so far. And I committed into his care the scroll with Artoxon’s demands – which he graciously agreed to deliver for us. 

Before the wizard took leave of us he thanked me for the summons (the High Fairy had alerted him to the necessity), and encouraged us to persevere in our search for the dragon and the other egg.

The Fairy Diary Day 380 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We were to have left before now. In fact, we had already set out towards the Low-way in the company of two new guides when a dwarf came running after us. He begged us to return with him for an audience with Artoxon. 

(I could not help but notice a twinkle in our pixie’s eye as we accompanied the dwarf back into the capital).

Along the way, I read some replies from the High Fairy. He had contacted the Dromadil pixies who forwarded to the goblin king our request to pay a visit to the forward goblin positions on the Low-way of the dwarves. We have been granted permission to do so. 

The High Fairy also added a warning that he gleaned from the Dromadil pixies – we are to beware of the intentions of Artoxon and his dwarves. 

So it was with some apprehension that we re-entered the capital and will soon be descending to Artoxon’s apartments.

The Fairy Diary Day 378 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Our guides delivered us to the entrance of Artoxon’s capital and left us there as they had another party to escort down the Low-way. We were taken into the care of Bifitz that ancient goblin, adopted by the dwarves and Artoxon in particular. He was waiting patiently for us. (Again word had preceded us).

He invited us into his chambers for what turned out to be a close questioning about our intentions.  

I laid out to him our concerns for the dwarves ever since the events surrounding the theft of the dragon egg from under Gilgorgon’s mountain – and our suspicions that the perpetrator – that is, the dragon, came in via the underground passages. 

At that point Bifitz cut us off and stated in no uncertain terms that no dragon would dare enter into their capital. He branded the whole idea that a dragon was present among them as preposterous. And would not hear of granting us permission to descend into the depths to visit Artoxon in his apartments. 

To say I was taken aback at this attitude is an understatement. But we did not protest. Just simply accepted his hospitality until our departure.