The Fairy Diary Day 447 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

The repairs to the gateway to the passage that travels up to Gilgorgon’s mountain were nearly complete when we arrived. The dwarves from the nearby outpost along with a contingent sent by Gilgorgon had been hard at work but it required the reinforcements Gnoston brought to have enough hands to lift the new doors up onto the new hinges. Rumble and I guided their placement upon the spindles. And Merlin added the last touch – creating stops on either side the better to hold the doors open, as a statement for his hope for the future. 

Before we took leave of Gnoston the dwarf informed us that he and the members of his village had placed the memorial statue just up the way from the gateway to commemorate the defeat of the dark elves by Merlin and Gilgorgon’s forces. 

I was glad to hear this. And I know Merlin was touched. 

The Fairy Diary Day 446 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

I was glad to leave the craziness behind. And so was Rumble. (As for Merlin we have seen no change in his composure throughout- we admire his strength). That being said, I will be very keen to hear about the final decisions regarding the future of the two dwarf kingdoms. I am sure the High Fairy will have great success and that all will be satisfied. 

Merlin has settled upon returning the way we came. We were no longer required to be accompanied by guides, so we acted our own. Rumble is sure that all the traps have been removed from the Low-way of the dwarves. Probably by Gnoston. 

Passing through Gnoston’s village, we paid a call on our friend. He was just about finished putting things back in order. He and his fellow villagers have been tasked with restoring the gates to the passage up to Gilgorgon’s mountain. And asked to accompany us. 

The Fairy Diary Day 441 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Some tense moments passed as the two sides waited one another out. Hostilities nearly ignited several times between separate individuals facing each other. Thankfully Fliget kept his dwarves in check while waiting for an answer to a set of demands he sent over by an emissary. 

A very good thing – for we had to retrieve Gnoston from the bowels of the sunken capital where he had gone to help Gilgorgon’s miners. And like we believed, he was the perfect one to explain the current situation to Fliget. 

Everything Gnoston had shared with us regarding the deep seated dislike towards Artoxon proved true. In response Fliget ordered his dwarves to stand down, and while the majority made camp, he sent a contingent of miners into the capital to help those belonging to Gilgorgon. 

At the first opportunity I finally obtained an audience with Merlin and he agreed with my reasoning that it would be best for Rumble and I to return to his castle. He did not say out right that Gibley and Dunfallon needed watching, but just remarked that Noralei could use a little break. 

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 439 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

The discussion among Merlin, the High Fairy, and Gilgorgon dragged on interminably. Clearly by his loud protestations the dwarf king was not happy with what the other two were advising him to do in regards to Artoxon. They want him to halt any further attempts to defeat and capture his enemy. 

Rumble and I kept company with Gnoston apart from their place of contention. We were both surprised at our friend’s attitude towards this issue. He agreed wholeheartedly with Gilgorgon’s position and against that of the wizard and his excellency. And I do not think it due to a belief on his part that he must do so as their prisoner. Strange to say he does stand against his own sovereign. And he declared that so do most of Artoxon’s subjects. 

I for one marveled at how well the dwarves of this kingdom had masked their true feelings about their king all the times in the past we had been with them. 

In the end I prevailed upon Merlin and the High Fairy to give an audience to Gnoston before any final decision was reached. 

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 432 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Rumble was gone when I opened my eyes – which was not really a concern at first as he just could have been restless and wandered off to check through the village once more for our missing friend, the dwarf Gnoston. But then I noticed that Merlin was also nowhere in sight. 

The feeling of being all alone crashed in on me. Which lasted until I wondered if I were dreaming. And after slapping myself with sufficient force to disprove that notion, I crept out of the house in hopes of clearing my head.

 Outside, the silence was deafening. But with the added sense that eyes were watching me – just out of view at every turn of my head. 

Then in an instant of clarity, I remembered thinking how like the Will’o’the Wisp this was – to torture and mislead his foes. 

I shook myself and re-entered the house. There were my friends waiting for me. They asked simply if I were ready to depart. 

We did. And along the Low-way of the dwarves I recounted to them the incidents that make me believe that I am being haunted by Willie.