This session had a log of prep & ground-work getting laid for bigger things in the future. The next session should be pretty explosive (possibly literally).
Lighting the Forge
With the fire spirit taken care of by the human spirit-binders, the Dwarves have started moving back into the hold and cleaning up. They persevere.
The three spirit-binders, led by a human named Koru, have been given quarters in a room above ground in the ziggurat.
Kardin & Flint talk to them about what needs to be done to light the forge. Koru provides them with a list of materials they’ll need to bind a spirit of that power to the forge. Also, he requests access to the forge so that he can see the area and make a mental map of it. Flint & Kardin escort him down to the forge.
They find Fergus & Falur with their heads together near the forge. It’s obvious they’re trying to light the forge by conventional methods. Koru goes about his business examining the area while Flint & Kardin take Fergus aside.
“Listen. You know and I know that Falur will never get that forge lit using the usual methods. The only way to get any use out of this forge is going to bind a spirit to it like before and use this forge key.”
“I also know from the histories the terrible things this forge can construct. I can’t allow that to happen. I have to hold out hope that we can make some use of it with the methods we dwarves have been using for generations.”
“Well, we’ll be here when Falur fails and we’ll get the forge lit.”
Flint & Kardin leave at that point and collect Koru — he’s seen what he needs to be able to prepare the binding.
For the moment, Kardin & Flint decide to let Falur keep going down the path of failure. Flint sees it as a way to descredit his father and Kardin hopes to use it as a way to get access back to the forge.
Kardin & Arak
After leaving the forge area and leaving Koru with his companions, Flint takes his leave to go find Grahm. Shortly after Flint leaves Kardin comes across Arak.
“Kardin, I’ve been looking for you. I think we should talk. There’s no reason this has to be awkward. I’m sure Grahm’s already told you that I’ve expressed my interest in Halel. And she’s expressed her interest in me.”
“She’s expressed no such sentiment to me.”
“Well, it’s true. This doesn’t need to be difficult. Just step aside and find someone else, and if we discover anything’s happened to the Prince, Halel & I can be together.”
“I don’t think so. We’ve loved each other for a long time. Maybe we should put the decision to her.”
They go to see Halel and put forth their cases and Kardin comes out on top (successful Persuasion vs. Persuasion). Arak agrees to no longer pursue Halel. “I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding a fine woman that deserves you, Arak.”
Meanwhile, Flint tracks down Captain Grahm and finds him having lunch up above under a pavilion in a camp at ground level. With barely concealed fury he says “Grahm, we need to talk.” He looks around a bit, “somewhere private would be best.”
“Very well.” Grahm stands up and brings his lunch along.
Once in Grahm’s quarters, Flint doesn’t hesitate, “All this is your fault.”
Grahm’s taken aback. “What, my fault?”
“Yes. You refused to let me take Argus away. Because of that, he managed to break that fire spirit free, get possessed by the spirit of the long-dead Midnor, kidnap my betrothed and Rutgar’s orphans, and cause untold chaos and damage.”
“No one could have predicted that. And, you know, speaking of Rutger, I thought you said you took care of him. He’s been going around camp telling stories and gambling.”
“What are you talking about? Rutger’s dead.”
“Well someone calling himself Rutger is going around camp. You promised me you’d deal with your problems.”
“I did deal with it. I don’t know who that is, but it’s not Rutger. And, anyhow, that’s beside the point. The fact is, your poor decision lead to all this. If you’d let me take Argus away, this would have never happened. That’s not common knowledge…yet.”
“What are you getting at, Flint?”
“It’d be a shame if that knowledge became wide-spread. I’m sure I could keep it quiet with the right motivation.”
Flint & Grahm go into a Duel of Wits. Grahm wants Flint to be his go-to guy and basically take care of anything Grahm wants down, with the implication of some dirty work. Flint wants hush money. Flint opens with a Dismiss and nearly takes out Grahm immediately. Grahm dismissed while Flint was hesitating and nearly took Flint out. In the last volley Flint was able to finish Grahm off and get his stakes. The major compromise is that Flint would cut Grahm some slack. Flint’s payment is in the form of a Fund to be represented by Grahm making sure materials are sent to Flint occasionally.
While waiting for Falur to fail at lighting the forge Kardin & Flint decide to start making plans for how they’re going to kill the Queen and disrupt the spiders. They decide talk with Dew and get her on their side. They manage to get her attention near one of the trap-door entrances, but also attract an eavesdropper (failed Circles).
They beat around the bush and make some implications. Dew may or may not have gotten completely what they were aiming towards, but she makes it quickly obvious that she’s completely loyal to the Queen. They decide to drop the conversation there and find another way.
After chatting for a bit Flint & Kardin come up with a plan. Flint will come up with some reason to be admitted into the Queen’s presence. He’ll have his arquebus loaded with a bolt that’s been poisoned. He’ll shoot the Queen and retreat. On the way out of the Great Spiders’ territory, Kardin will have prepared a section to collapse to keep persuing spiders from following. After that it won’t be long until the Queen Mother succumbs to the poison and dies, at which point the spiders will be too busy infighting to worry about the dwarves.
Kardin decides to capitalize on his association with the Deep Delvers and finds a delver that is willing & able to help, but he’s going to need resources, which Flint & Kardin have no problem providing (successful Resources). The Delver’s only other stipulation is to be guarded in case the spiders get curious. Kardin promises to stick around and keep an eye on things as they prepare a tunnel to collapse.
Part of the plan to poison the Queen is to track down and kill a spider and remove its venom sac, so Flint heads out to take care of that. First he decides to enlist the help of the humans. He talks it over with Koru and Koru says he will be able to help, but he’ll need to come top-side with Flint, because of something called domains, which Flint doesn’t really understand. Koru makes some gestures and says it is done. Flint doesn’t really feel any different, but Koru says he will be better able to move unseen through the forest now, so Flint heads off in search of a spider.
Unfortunately, magical aid, or no, Flint is no hunter and instead finds himself confronted by three Great Spiders. Nothing to do but hope to kill one and scare the others off. He does his best to keep his distance while the spiders try to flank him from the sides and above, but he’s able to get a clean shot against one and takes it down, scaring the other two spiders off (successful Bloody Versus test). He’s able to cut out the spider’s fang and venom sac with no problem.
Back in the tunnels Kardin is keeping an eye on things while the delvers are doing their thing when suddenly he hears skittering noises getting closer. He ventures out a bit and encounters a spider he’s never seen before. It’s chitin has all sorts of barbs that come out at all angles along its legs.
Kardin shows his hands to be empty “Can I help you?”
“What is it you’re doing here, dwarf?”
“We’re gathering more raw materials. We’re still in our agreed-upon territory, we’re not trespassing.”
“Indeed your not, but I think you’re up to more. I heard your conversation with Dew.”
“So? What’s your name?”
“I’m Shard. Dew doesn’t have the ambition I do. I can read between the lines and I know what you’re about. With no clear direction, our clans will be consumed by chaos and there could be half a dozen queens vying for power. Wouldn’t it be better to have just one strong queen that you know will be friendly to you?”
“Perhaps. And I assume that spider would be you?”
“Yes, of course. I would be a powerful ally and we have a lot to offer one another.”
“I want access to the rune staircase.”
“Don’t go forward with this plan of yours and you’ll have access to that and more when I become Queen.”
“And how do you propose we take care of the Queen, then?”
“I don’t know, but come up with something that doesn’t rely on chaos and infighting. I’ll be in touch.” At that, Shard scurries off down the tunnel.
A possible ally? Who knows. It may not be worth coming up with a new plan, but it might be worth finding a way to pit Shard & Dew against one another. That could give Flint the opening he needs to take his shot at the Queen. We’ll find out next session!