The Fairy Diary Day 687 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

I kept a promise to Dunfallon this morning by rolling a game of ninepins with some of his dwarf friends, with the pixie’s mountain goat Gabhe looking on. I was able to express the pixie’s sadness at not being there with them as he had hoped. They all understood the reason for his absence. And asked me to convey an invitation to him to return soon. 

I discovered that I quite enjoyed the game, and did very well. (They did make me swear beforehand not to practice any “fairy business.” Dunfallon in the beginning had gotten away with a few things before they exacted a similar promise from him).

I had just won a game when Herblas came down to retrieve me. As he was ushering me up to Gilgorgon’s audience chamber he informed me that we had a visitor.  

Upon entry I was overjoyed to see the elf Navril there with Merlin and Gilgorgon. As he had promised he brought news about the renegade elves. He had been on his way to the Faerie Kingdom and just happened to stop by to pay his respects to the dwarves, and was delighted to hear that we were present. 

Navril and other elves were never able to elicit any explanations from their renegades until just a few days before. In sharing this news with the wizard and comparing dates they ascertained that the transformation in them came about the instant Merlin had placed her former majesty’s voice in the box. 

The difference in their behavior was as stark as that of night from day. They were no longer obstinately devoted to her cause, but were left wondering how they became committed to her in the first place. 

After hearing this, I was more than ready to return to the fairy capital. And Merlin announced that so we shall on the morrow. 

The Fairy Diary Day 685 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Merlin met us upon our arrival last night. Before Cluyjil and the wagon were settled into their places, the cages and their occupants were lifted out of the wagon and spirited away into the depths. 

We each felt a palpable difference being in Gilgorgon’s mountain than times hitherto. And the dwarves were uncomfortable with it too. 

Merlin assured us and Gilgorgon in particular that the worst was past. Evidently in the time before we arrived the wizard had to demonstrate to the dwarf king and his dwarves that they had not doomed their kingdom by their gracious offer to imprison our malefactors. In fact, Merlin promised there would be a great reward. They needed only to add their spells to his to form an unbreakable seal that will sever any connection she has to influence the world outside of herself. 

And so with the new day, the heaviness that was sensed within the mountain dissipated. Normalcy returned throughout. 

And with that Dunfallon was eager to be off back to the pixie lands, even without a game of nine pins with his friend Gabhe the mountain goat. 

Rumble opted to join the pixie in his next adventure, but I decided to stay a while. I wanted to understand better what had happened, and had many questions to ask Merlin. I felt it particularly incumbent upon me given the position of High Fairy that I would soon be assuming. 

The Fairy Diary Day 684 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We took turns on watch throughout the night. And today, I found myself constantly scanning the sky about us – looking for more black birds, or for the hornet swarms that oft times were associated with them in the past. I must say that with the blackness filling the sky more and more to our front, it would be very difficult to distinguish them.

Thankfully the black plants have not spread beyond the pixie territory. The last ones we saw took up an entire meadow at the end of the forest. Dunfallon had coaxed Cluyjil to torch them all to ash. He now cannot wait to deliver our prisoners to their waiting cells under the mountain, and return to his beloved land of the pixies with the dragon and eradicate the rest.

As we came out of the rolling hills, a light shone out of the darkness ahead. Rumble directed Cluyjil and the wagon towards that beacon. And I ordered our fairy escort to form up and follow behind us.

There at the base of the mountain, Herblas was waiting for us beside a signal fire. He had no explanation for what was going on, and was hoping we might know something. We filled him in on our suspicions, then pushed forward in the dark, following behind his dwarves, illuminating the way with firebrands.

All was quiet within the cages. A peek inside was met with glum and long faces. Then I realized that the queen no longer stuck her tongue out at me. And probably could not. 

The Fairy Diary Day 681 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Gibley left for the canyonlands on Conjil this morning. Rumble joined Dunfallon and I to bid him goodbye. The goblin had offered to accompany us on our trip, but I thanked him and released him from any obligation that he was feeling and assured him that the three of us should have no problem reaching the dwarves safely. 

Together we three had Cluyjil harnessed and prepared to go just before Merlin and Tinadell arrived. An escort of fairy troops delivered the cages with our two prisoners and tied them down into the wagon. 

The Fairy King echoed the wizard’s assurances of yesterday to me. He thinks all challenges will be laid to rest by the time of our return from Gilgorgon’s mountain. 

Merlin instructed us on how to care for and communicate with our prisoners. We are to talk with the Caretaker and not the former queen. Additional spells are weighing her down and restricting her activity and abilities. He is confident she will present no problems. 

After Dunfallon reviewed his soldier less weapons and arranged their marching order about the wagon, we set out, following behind our fairy troop escort.

We bypassed Nonin-gal-dith and took the southbound road in order to retrace the path we traveled last time. Dunfallon still believes it wise to keep the distance between the renegades and the Will’o’the Wisp. 

The Fairy Diary Day 661 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We all were elated by the good news. Not having to be over watchful sped us along at a swifter pace. Still, we sent Dunfallon up on Cluyjil. We trusted that if there were any problems left out there he would spot them. 

I caught Merlin for a talk about Clemjil. I explained that our dragonling is showing signs of maturing and wondered if he could procure an igniter stone for him. Then, from his voluminous robe the wizard withdrew a gleaming red stone. 

With a twinkle in his eye, he said, “This should do quite nicely. But…” He paused, then added, “…I believe we will defer to Gibley in this matter. And if you agree, we will wait on his timing – when we are together once again.”

I did agree. 

Then Merlin did something he has never done before. He removed his outer robe and surrounded us in its tent like folds. He said what he had to tell me needed to be in private. In his recent interaction with the Frost Fairies they told him that they were waiting for two dwarves that had promised to deliver to them an unbeatable weapon. I knew without speaking it outloud that he meant (and they meant) the current leaders of our dwarfish escort – Rugis and Strukul.

The wizard continued by pointing out that we should not have to do a thing about them, as it is clear the reason for them to steal the bell had been removed. 

We parted and upon laying eyes on the two dwarves again, I vowed to stay alert.

The Fairy Diary Day 660 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Merlin left before we even arose this morning. He left word through Gilgorgon that we should follow as soon as we were prepared. Knowing we wanted to be on our way as soon as possible, the dwarf king kept the parting ceremony brief but meaningful. As always he looks forward to our paths crossing again.

Dunfallon and Noralei switched places once more. The pixie took Cluyjil up hopefully to be on hand for the wizard, if necessary. And Clemjil for the first time, accompanied them. Noralei harnessed Rayjil once again to the wagon. And as in the past Rumble and I walked along on either side with Dunfallon’s “army,” keeping pace. They looked fit and shiny… and deadly.

The dwarves with us on the way up the mountain have been assigned also to accompany us down this side. With one difference – Herblas has remained behind, there being too much for him to do to get away – and in his place of leadership are two dwarves, Rugis and Strukul. Rumble recogized them as the two dwarves he thought had an unhealthy interest in the Crack of Doom. I must say that I have never seen a more shifty-eyed pair.

Our prisoners were ensconced in their normal spots. Her former majesty was uncharacteristically quiet in her cage. Instead, the Caretaker, who has hardly uttered two words together, complained about every bump on the road that we encountered. I do believe that on one stretch before a switchback, Noralei intentionally hit every rock and pothole on the roadway.

As the shadow of the mountain behind us began to lengthen, the other two dragons showed up. Dunfallon was on Clemjil and Merlin on Cluyjil. They brought exciting news with them. The way ahead is now clear of living obstacles. Merlin had encountered the Frost Fairies waiting in ambush on this side, and successfully convinced them to return to their home in the north under their new commander Tublain.

The Fairy Diary Day 659 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Merlin was not convinced that the dwarves would have any designs on acquiring the Crack of Doom for themselves. But rather than continuing to speculate he suggested that we just go ask Gilgorgon ourselves.

Inside the mountain was abuzz with the activities of a new day. We caught Gilgorgon just after his morning meeting with Herblas in which he had laid out the tasks for the day.

To Merlin’s pointed question, our friend the dwarf king smiled and said that he for one could understand our concern. However, he expressed surprise that knowing a dwarf’s propensity for metals, we should have at least understood the matter from their side. He brushed it off as just curiosity on the part of these unnamed dwarves as to the metals used in the bell and its forging.

Gilgorgon went on to add that our pixie seemed to understand this about dwarves, for he had petitioned him last night for permission to visit their forges to help put new edges on his soldier less “army.”

This mention thunderstruck the wizard. For he immediately excused himself by saying that it was imperative for him to be present throughout that whole process.

I also excused myself from Gilgorgon’s presence – and as it was clear we would not be departing today, I joined with Noralei and Rumble down in the assembly area. There, we busied ourselves with the upkeep for the wagon and the care for the dragons.

As we finished for the day, we felt satisfied that we had headed off some possible future problems. The harness was quite worn, and we were able to mend and strengthen it. Noralei took a close look at Clemjil, who, though present, was not behaving like his normal self – for he had not been everywhere and into everything. And she said to us that he might just be ready to have an igniter installed in his jaw. 

I confess that I shuddered for a moment, but with my second thought I knew that the time would not be far off.

The Fairy Diary Day 658 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Thankfully it was an uneventful transit up to Gilgorgon’s mountain. Neither we on the ground, nor Noralei up in the air spotted any suspicious looking elves. 

Gilgorgon had a sumptuous welcome for us set up in his great hall. Our host made the rounds to thank each of us profusely for everything we had done for the dwarves – both for bringing peace to the two dwarf kingdoms and their consequent prosperity – but also for the recent rescue from the freeze that had been threatening the world. 

A secure place was set up at one end of the hall from which our prisoners could observe the proceedings (and we could keep an eye on them). I heard not a peep from that quarter. Curious, I wandered over a couple times to check. Each time her former majesty greeted me with her favorite slur. I did not even bother to lift the cover. 

On the second instance, Rumble met me and asked to talk. He took me down to the large assembly area where the wagon with the Crack of Doom and the dragons were kept. My friend was uneasy and was feeling guilty for it. On the journey up the mountain it seemed to him that a couple of the dwarves expressed an odd interest in what was contained in the large box. He did not like the gleam in their eyes after he told them what was inside. 

So, Rumble decided to stay with the wagon and the bell overnight. I was not sure that I agreed with his assessment, but then again I was not present at the encounter. However, I did promise him that I would talk to Merlin about the situation. 

The Fairy Diary Day 657 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Before we got under way today, Merlin cautioned Herblas and his dwarves about the recent attempts by our prisoner to gain influence over her captors. He offered to help blunt any design she could muster against the dwarves. 

Herblas thanked him but he was certain that they were untouchable when it came to her dark arts. 

I really could not tell what the wizard thought about his reply. 

Also, before we departed the border outpost, Noralei and Dunfallon agreed to exchange positions for the trip up the mountain. She unhitched Rayjil and together they went up to scout the area ahead.  And the pixie harnessed Cluyjil to the wagon and sat up forward with Rumble and me. 

Dunfallon’s “army” continued at their posts immediately surrounding the wagon. They seemed not to be bothered by the dwarves as much as they had been by the elves. I do think they are looking a little worse for wear though. 

Not too far along we passed into familiar territory and memories crowded in about our battle with the undead trolls. After we arrived at the fort we defended back then, (our destination for the day), we settled in for the night, Dunfallon brought out his harp and played and sang about that victory. 

I do think that Noralei was quite impressed. 

The Fairy Diary Day 654 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Sitting beside Noralei on the wagon this morning was quite a change from yesterday. Navril’s elves rigidly kept their distance, so the mood continued to be one of optimism among Dunfallon’s “army.” I had had the opportunity to discuss my fears of a hidden enemy within, and he has taken it upon himself to vett everyone under his command. 

So, I had every reason to bask in the sunshine filling the air around us. When some humming arose again in the cage with her former majesty. Noralei began a tune of her own as a counter to her attempt to lull us into a stupor. 

Disgusted at being foiled, the renegade queen began calling us names. One epitaph, aimed at me, I did not recognize. It seemed particularly vicious. At that point Merlin broke in to command her silence and took me aside to explain to me the gist of her jibes. 

She had called me a halfling, half human and half fairy – and totally abominable. 

Indeed an insult. (I write that even though I do have friends that are human). 

I did not have any time to dwell on the slur, for Dunfallon and Conjil returned at that instant. 

Although his mission had been successful – the dwarves will meet us on their border on this road – the pixie was more excited to report on a sighting while on the way back. A force of elves was cutting through the forest from the road we had left to the one we are currently traveling.