At long last, praise Logothos’ enlightened mercy, I have been freed from my kobold captors and am once more able to tread across the surface’s green grass. I even know the date, and I am not ashamed to admit I wept to learn I had been a captive for so long, even though it had felt like months longer.
This morning began as does most any other day—Scar entered my rough chamber with whatever they intended to pass for my daily meal, and bade me carry my bucket of night soil to the nearby crevice down which the tribe tossed its refuse. As it turned out, although I had given up on my companions coming to rescue me, they had not turned their backs on me. Looking back, I was lucky to have been engaged in such an odorous task because it meant I was secluded and distant from most of the tribe’s other caverns (even kobolds are smart enough to keep their garbage and excrement as far as possible from where they live) when the dwarves came. Although I was too far to see most of what occurred, I was told the tale many times later and so I am able to repeat it now based on what I pieced together from the various versions I have heard.
After I was taken captive during the kobolds’ night raid, Twollas and Gud managed to fight off the remaining creatures. Having learned of my disappearance, my two companion set about tracking the beasts, but were unable to catch up in the dark considering the raider’s familiarity with the area. By the time day broke, the kobolds had been tracked to the cave leading to their deep caverns, a realm the pair judged too perilous to enter on their own. And so it was that they marked the location in their memories and headed north for help.
As easy as it would be to blame the two for leaving me for so long, I have already spent too much time beneath peril’s unforgiving gaze to be so naïve. The dwarf and goblin had no way of knowing if I was still alive, and following my captors into their own territory, unprepared and outnumbered, would have most likely done me no good and seen them sharing my fate (or worse.) Considering how things turned out, I cannot find it in myself to fault their wisdom.
The two spent nearly two weeks avoiding similarly dangerous bands of creatures who stalked the Archduchy’s fringes, heading north along Drome Lok’s western shores until they finally encountered a ranging patrol of dwarves out of the industrious city of Nolmedron. According to Gud, Twollas took the patrol’s captain aside for a few words that soon afterward had one of the pony outriders racing back to the Dwarf Hold for reinforcements (my master-in-arms refuses to so much as hint as to what he said that spurred such quick action.) The patrol held its position a few days more, at which point we were approached by scouts from a dwarven iron ship that had steamed south and disembarked the former upon the short in order to find us. The scouts bade us return with them to their vessel so that Twollas and Gud could join the ship’s compliment of soldiers in a search for me. It seems Twollas’ influence is considerable, because the iron steamer carried an elite cadre of dwarf muskeeters, a detachment of tunnel fighters, another detachment of sappers and engineers, along with a considerable amount of supplies.
Having been collected, the dwarves led Twollas and Gud back to the shore in force, scaring away anything that would have otherwise considered attacking, where they embarked upon the ship to continue south at all haste. (My understanding is the patrol was left to complete its original mission of scouring the wilds where the northern Crypt Hills dropped and then merged with the Warder Hills’ southern fringe.)
Following Twollas’ lead, the dwarves crossed in a day what had taken my companions weeks to cautiously cross afoot. Finally, they landed and prepared for their assault, which would prove to be no simple feat. Moving a force of that size across such dread territories unmolested was known to be perilous, which is why the dwarves rarely pushed so distant south from their walled city. Whatever Twollas had said or done to earn my absence such attention clearly carried more weight than I can fathom at the moment.
Immediately after disembarking to the shoreline, the dwarf engineers set about erecting earthworks and similar temporary defensive positions, essentially creating a temporary fort with its back against the lake and the iron ship’s nearby guns to lend their weight to any fight. After two days, during which time I am made to understand Twollas could barely be contained, such were his demands to move against my captors, the fort was complete. The rescue force now had a defensible position to which they could return if circumstances turned upon them.
As much as I would like to finish the story of my rescue, I must take to my rest. The entire ordeal of my rescue has left me rather exhausted (not to mention injured, which I will go into later.) I will finish the tale once I have slept for a few days, and eaten my weight’s worth of good, hearty food.
© 2013, The SpirosBlaak Chronicles. Misfit Studios. All rights reserved.