Freeing a Friend
Sometimes a stone is thrown and a wall of rock comes down. So it was with the fall of Like More.
The dwarven nation rises. Nothing galvanizes like the threat of destruction. All four of the remaining clans are moving quickly to establish relations and mutual protection treaties.
The Carrot clan knows us as do the Tackling clans, but the others seem more suspicious. I think to appease them and even appease many of Carrot's own people, the decision was made. I cannot blame Carrot, but fortunately he does not rule me.
"Mord, I am sorry to tell you but you may no longer visit Starg. He has been sentenced to death for transgressing our lands. In this climate, we must protect our place."
"A Brick, is there nothing that can be done? I was making such good progress with Starg. He has been warming to tales of Kord and his followers. I was just in the middle of this tale of the struggle to hold the twenty-third games in the town of Humphled--"
"Mord, stop. I have no time for this. Starg will die by the laws and justice of Moradin. Kord will have to save Starg after his death if that be Kord's will. I am truly sorry, Mord. I know he once was a close friend and a good enemy. Such is hard to find in one person. In three days, as is our custom, he will be dead at sunset. You can have the honor of bringing him his last meal at noon. His remains will be utterly destroyed."
Well, so much for a second resurrection. I bowed my head and left. I went to the pub and had a good stiff drink, thinking about what to do. What were these dwarven laws to me? I gave them Starg partly as a sign of respect, but more as a convenience. I had to rescue Fiola, not tend to my enemy friend. And now it seemed I needed to rescue him. It was getting complicated. Maybe I could find a stout dwarf to pound on. No, it is too early for that. Hmph.
And so my thoughts went. I sat there, early in the morning, pounding drink after drink down. Until finally I had a thought. Unfortunately it left me when my head hit the table. In the bleary light of the afternoon, a plan formed.
That night, I recalled myself back to the temple at New Ardlord. There I spoke with the priests and told them that I thought Starg might be saved. They agreed to look after him for a few days if I could get him there. I asked for one more favor, an invisibility potion. They nodded and we smiled, knowing that laws don't bind us.
I messaged Starg: "Starg, you are sentenced to death. I plan to free you. Will you follow Kord?"
Starg responded: "Free me and I will keep an open mind about Kord."
I recalled to my dwarven quarters, none the wiser that I had ever left. I think I was being watched, but at least they still respected my privacy in my quarters.
That day I did my tasks cheerfully, going over every detail of my plan.
And that night, after all of the others had gone to sleep, I acted. I drank the invisibility potion and then transformed into the wind. I wafted through cracks of the door and around the fellow watching me. I slipped down the tunnels and to the dwarf cells, sailing past the guards.
And then into Starg's cell. I reformed and woke Starg quietly. I whispered "Ready?" He grunted agreement, and then I asked Kord to take us both back to the temple of New Ardlord. And so we vanished. Or rather, Starg vanished; I was already invisible.
Arriving at the temple, I handed Starg over into the care of the temple authorities.
"Starg, listen and do as they say. I will be back when I can, but I must be back to avoid suspicion."
And I recalled myself back to my room at the dwarven cavern, becoming visible and solid.
I walked out of the room and struck up a conversation with the fellow whose job it was to watch me. It turns out that I had never wrestled with him. So we wrestled. I let it go on for sometime and then I let him beat me. I shook my head and gave him a sandwich I had in one of my pockets. As he was eating, he told me about his family and how he was the first in his family to leave the mines to be a soldier. He then wanted to hear of the tales of our battles. He had yet to face a giant.
I told him at great length how it was, wondering when the news of the escape would be done. It took over an hour, but finally a dwarf came running up to fetch me. Both my watcher and I got up and learned of Starg's escape. A Brick wanted to see me.
"Mord, Starg has escaped. Do you know anything about how he escaped?" I could tell that there were truth spells in effect. I chose my words carefully.
"A Brick, how could I know? Your watcher was with me during the presumed escape time. And he saw me enter my room before that and not come out. Explain to me how I could know anything."
"Did you help Starg escape?"
"I helped Starg escape from Gruumsh. I was leading him back to Kord. And now this. What have you dwarves done?"
"Mord, you seem to be avoiding the questions."
"Me? Look, A Brick, am I known as a stealthy fellow? Kordians do not sneak around like thieves. If I wanted Starg free, I could easily have broken him out without stealth. You know that."
"Well, yeah, you are about as stealthy as a steel bucket falling in a ravine. Still...did you ask anyone to help Starg escape?"
"I did not ask anyone to help Starg escape your cell."
"Do you know where he is right now?"
"Without scrying, I could not tell you where he is."
"We are not done Mord, but that is all for now. I hope we do not find any evidence of you being involved in this. Otherwise, the death sentence will fall on you and perhaps even your friends. Dwarves never forgive such transgressions."
"Of course, A Brick. I hope you understand that this is someone who tried to kill me that just escaped. I wish you luck in your investigations."
And so I left for the night, my evasions seemingly working.
Mords of Wisdom: The threat of death prepares the soul.