The Fairy Diary Day 402 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

It seems we were kept waiting forever outside the gate to the stronghold city. The guards would not let us pass due to the presence of Gibley’s hatchling. And our demands to see Fliget went unanswered. Finally Gnoston was able to convince them to allow him entry to seek an audience with his friend. 

In the meantime Rumble purchased a hooded cloak from a passing merchant, with which Gibley and Noralei swaddled the hatchling. (It was more to hide her from prying eyes than anything else). 

As his impatience grew, Dunfallon agitated about either taking to the side passages to enter the city or maybe even going up to the surface and be on our way. But I vetoed his first idea as dangerous and reminded him that the quickest and easiest way to the canyonlands was through the city. 

The pixie’s sulk was cut short by the appearance of our friend Fliget – and his explanation for our long wait. He had decided to order all his subjects to stay indoors or to move from the main thoroughfare in order to clear a route through the city for our party to pass through unseen. 

He added an apology that there would be no time consequently to renew our friendship. I told him I understood but later remarked to the others that I felt our friend was being forced to comply to the will of the long arm of Artoxon.

The Fairy Diary Day 401 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We have made good time along the Low-way to the stronghold. We should reach it on our next march. Our pace has been a good deal quicker since we have not had to skulk about as before when we were forced off onto the side passages. 

There is now more traffic in both directions. Of particular note are those obvious shipments from the dwarf mines. The hatchling perks up when they pass by. I think she can smell the gold inside the wooden boxes. At this point it is easy to restrain her curiosity. Dunfallon has become quite handy misdirecting her. 

I believe Gibley is somewhat jealous of our pixie’s way of gaining her obedience.

The Fairy Diary Day 387 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Merlin extracted answers from Hawk to all his questions and to most of ours. The dark elf is now a shattered husk – a state from which the wizard assures us he will recover. 

Merlin claims never to have laid a finger on him. Whatever pressure was exerted, it was focused against the curse. And he turned that to his advantage. 

Understanding this went a long way towards explaining the puzzle that existed for Dunfallon and me. We could not understand why Hawk had continued in the thrall of the curse after its dissipation with the fall of the dark elf stronghold. 

Merlin said the curse had been totally embraced by Hawk, and thus it branded every part of his being. 

Most important of all was the knowledge that though Hawk encountered the dragon, he did not succeed in bending its will to his. Nor did he get anywhere near the egg. 

Merlin believes that the time for nesting has become critical and he is certain that both the dragon and the egg are held up in some remote place for that purpose. 

And because it is crucial for him to turn his attention to the egg in his possession for that same purpose, he has delegated us to stay in this area until it is found.

The Fairy Diary Day 375 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

A guardpost of dwarves had taken the place of the former dark elves camp in that section of the Low-way. Though surprised to see fairies and a pixie they were not belligerent. In fact when one of them recognized us, there was nothing they wouldn’t do for us. 

When I asked them if they had seen or heard about any dragon activity, they all shook their heads. And the one who had recognized us added that from all reports everything was quiet, both in the stronghold at the far end of the Low-way and in Artoxon’s capital at the other. 

So, we had another decision to make. Which way were we going to go? Up the Low-way to Artoxon’s capital? Or down to the stronghold city to see our friend Fliget?

I think I speak for all when I say we’d prefer to visit Fliget, but our secondary mission seems to dictate that we call upon Artoxon first. 

We bid the dwarf guards goodbye and began our trek up the Low-way.

The Fairy Diary Day 347 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

According to his say-so Bifitz has negated the curse. Through a lengthy spell he was able to physically remove it from within the pedestal. He examined the chalice and the red ash. He tells us that the dark elves must have been aware of the curse for he believes the chalice and something that had been placed on top to close it off was their attempt to deflect its effect. 

This may explain why it was stronger at other points along the Low-way in the deserted places. And that whoever took away whatever enclosed the chalice caused the curse to pour back onto the stronghold. Hence the horrific effect on the Dromadil pixies. 

Noralei and I met with Merlin afterwards and filled him in about the missing Will’o’the Wisp. He agreed with our suspicions that Willie may be responsible for removing the chalice cover. 

And he is fairly certain that it was some kind of crystal.

The Fairy Diary Day 346 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Artoxon did not come himself but had sent his envoys- our former guides Fliget and Gnoston. With them was a most puzzling figure – I believe it was a he – the most wizened dwarf I have ever seen.  And imagine my surprise when he was revealed to be an ancient goblin and a bit of a wizard himself. 

He went away with the High Fairy and Merlin, while Fliget and Gnoston remained with us and filled us in about their companion who is called Bifitz. Long ago this goblin had forsaken his own people to live among the dwarves, maintaining a place of distinction in their ruling council. 

It was Bifitz who had conjured the curse upon the stronghold prior to when the dwarves were forced to abandon it. 

Rumble and Noralei went off with Fliget and Gnoston on a tour of the city. I sat with Dunfallon to hear the tale of his latest adventures.

The Fairy Diary Day 342 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

They tell me I fainted dead away from all the excitement surrounding the fast moving changes at play among the peoples involved as they have assented to agreements, signed treaties and began the exchange of habitations. 

Now I have reawakened I call it exhaustion and consider it just a delayed reaction to the amount of force that streamed out of me in dispelling the influence of that mysterious entity responsible for the madness visited upon the Dromadil pixies and the dark elves. 

The dark elves have already begun their trek back to the surface. They will repopulate the abandoned villages of the land with no name. And are considering to name it anew (they even desire to seek a new name for themselves, as they want to leave behind the stigma carried by the term ‘dark elves.’)

Dunfallon has gone off up the Low-way with a few of the Dromadil pixies in search of Artoxon and his dwarves to inform them that they may now return to this, their former stronghold.  

When I joined Rumble and Noralei who again had taken up the examination of the chalice and the red ashes, who should walk in but our friend, the wizard Merlin.

The Fairy Diary Day 340 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

We met no resistance at this end of the city. I would of thought the area deserted except for the furtive figures of what I took to be female dark elves and their children peeping out of the windows of the buildings lining the crooked streets. 

I remember being thankful that our fears about Willie had not come to pass. No hue and cry had been raised. We went about freely. 

It was not until the city center that we encountered any opposition. There the dark elf reserves were mustered awaiting orders. 

The Dromadil pixies burst in upon them with a fury that took me aback. The destruction they meted out was like watching the goblins at war. I could not believe my eyes. 

Then, I realized that they must have been in the grips of that entity Noralei and I had struggled against on the Low-way. 

So fearful were the dark elf troops to get away that they fled to the canyonlands side of the city and opened the gates in their panic to flee the pixies. This despite their brethren’s resistance to this action. 

I called on Navril and his elves, and Noralei and Rumble to bring order and discipline to the Dromadil pixies. 

Dunfallon would have been best for the task, but with the nearness to the outside world he had summoned his eagle and together they were everywhere – in and out of the stronghold. 

I so wanted to summon Merlin. 

But then I simply did what I knew I had to do. Removed my cloak – held my pendant in front of my armor and rose above the city. 

In the blinding flash that followed all activity ceased. 

As we pieced things together later, this got Dunfallon’s attention, and his gaze fell upon a chalice atop the highest tower in the stronghold. At the same instant Noralei noticed it too. She arrived before he could and wrenched it from its place. 

The result was immediate. As with a great sigh of relief the Dromadil pixies came to their senses. 

The dark elves stacked their arms and surrendered.

The Fairy Diary Day 339 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Noralei remained with Navril and his elves, and will assault the gate of the stronghold from the Low-way. I went down the passage to the chamber of the junction nearest the stronghold to join Rumble and Dunfallon. 

Only the Dromadil pixies, all veterans of the Battle at the Bottom of the Shaft, were there when I arrived. They had set up a barracks of sorts in the chamber and in parts of the various offshoots. They told me Dunfallon and Rumble were off scouting for the hidden passage into the stronghold.  

I was growing edgy waiting for news when Noralei came up from the Low-way to check on us. That is when Rumble emerged from a passage with news that they had made their way into the stronghold. Dunfallon had ascertained that it comes out within the city walls above the gate. 

I sent Noralei back to Navril and his troops to await our actions. 

I marshaled the Dromadil pixies and together we followed Rumble down the secret dwarf access to the stronghold. 

Dunfallon met us within the city wall with the report that Nililitil had begun the assault on the other side. 

It was the opportune time for us to strike. For the gate tower was deserted. 

Working in tandem Dunfallon and Rumble loosened the mechanism operating the gate. And Noralei and Navril and his troops rushed in to join us. 

What happened next I need more time and considered thought before I write it all down. 

The Fairy Diary Day 338 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Noralei examined the lantern/cage of the Will’o’the Wisp. Something had burned through the bars on one side. Her handiwork had melted clean away. One wonders how we could not have noticed when it occurred. She thinks his consumption of that walking sprout most likely has something to do with it. 

We were left with a greater concern – has Willie fled to the stronghold to warn the dark elves about our presence? And by so doing has he compromised the planned coordinated assault for tomorrow?

I dispatched Rumble to bring the news to Dunfallon. Noralei and I went down to the Low-way to confer with Navril. 

We discussed moving up the time of the assault. And decided we needed Dunfallon and the Dromadil pixies on the inside first.