The Down Day
You awake on the morning of the 11th, at least, you assume it is morning. Morning, noon and night look the same by the orange glow of the Arclights. Yet you have not been underground so long as to lose your body’s natural rhythms.
Those of you awakening in the dormitories hear the snores of the other human. Since being freed alongside you, Owen Argort has kept to himself. Unlike the goblin, he has done little to aid the company. He has stayed in the camp, near to Karrol or Leandron whenever possible.
Gandogar and Alfie did not sleep in the dormitory. They spent the night in the forge, building the fires, working the billows, and sleeping on the bare floor.
Yet the dwarf is not long absent. Even before you have stirred out of the room, Gandogar enters with slate in hand. “Alright, the furnace in the forge is stoked and I’m ready to start working on things. What do you need?”
“I require bracers,” hisses Eska, drawing out the C and S. She says no more and departs.
Reener holds up his wrists for inspection. Each is enclosed in a wide band of bronze and iron. Each ends in a loop, previously used to secure the goblin, as is covered in the markings of Reener’s former owner. The bracers are crimped shut. They have adorned his wrists for a long time.
“Hmph. Yeah. I’ll knock those off in the forge.” He turns to Hodor and turns the discussion to replacing the Minotaur’s Axe with something more the the Ogre’s liking.
Outside the dormitory, the elderly goblin woman, known to you by the name “Grimey,” given to her by the Kal, is already up and fixing a breakfast of grilled onions and mushrooms.
After eating, Eska and Zaro depart to watch the two entrances to the cave system. Eska watches the Tunnel where the Kalinesh scouting party was destroyed; Zaro watches the natural caves.
Most avoid idleness and put their energies to valuable pursuits. Leandron observes their work appreciatively.
Alfie uses the stores of crysarium and what organic ingredients he can sneak from Grimey’s kitchen to craft new potions. His supply of high quality bottles exhausted, he stores his concoctions in bits of tubing salvaged from the workroom, tied off at both ends. From time to time, the “pop” of some unexpected reaction sounds from the workroom.
Anton gathers the Builder armor and the hammer, taken from the dwarf encountered in the mines. Draping the armor over a stone bench, he raises the hammer and swings down. A loud ping sounds through the hall, Unsatisfied with the mark, he sets his feat, raises the hammer, and strikes again. The diamond shaped indentation left on the breast brings a smile to his face. He sets the hammer aside and measures the width, height, and depth against his fingers.
“You don’t have to hammer it. I’ll melt it down.” Gandogar calls out.
Anton looks up, startled. “Although we may not be able to presently appreciate the quality and capabilities of this alien equipment, I think we would be remiss in destroying it before we learned how to engage its proper use. In other news, I believe I can identify which of the golems will be helpful to us. I intend to prepare a crysarium power source that we may activate it.”
“If you wish to not smelt the builder armor I shall not; we will need to carry it out of the mountains along with everything else. I’ll make room in one of the packs for it. For now, I need to get these shackles of this goblin.” he gestures to Reener. “The golems are beyond my scope of knowledge. If you wish to activate the friendly one I’ll be there as well as the others. I hope you know what you are doing.“
He leads Reener into the forges, where, after a harmless slip of the hammer, he’s able to free the goblin of the shackles. Reener’s newly exposed skin is calloused and scarred.
As Gandogar continues his work in the forge, reducing the metal from the Minotaur Axe and other items down to a workable form, Reener sets out to forage and graze Betsy. He collects a list of desired plants from Grimey, for use in cooking, and from Alfie and Anton, for use in alchemy.
As he passes through the gate, Reener stops at the golems. Anton is standing before the left golem, pressing his thumb into a dent in the guardian’s thick armor. This golem stands with its weight on its left foot. Its right arm, ending in a blade, is poised above its head. The right foot is slightly back, raised onto the toes.
Reener scrambles up onto the right golem, sniffing and looking along the length of the club held in its left hand. This golem has a wider stance. Its right hand is about waist height, with the palm flat and down-turned.
The goblin and the dwarf trade places, applying their search to the other golem.
“No blood,” Reener says, climbing down from the left golem, “but this one is more work.”
Anton nods. “I think that’s the friendly one. That hammer blow,” he points to the domed crown, housing the optical orbs of the golem, “seems to match the hammer we found.”
With that, Anton joins Alfie in the laboratory, calling out “Hodor?! Did you find another large piece of crysarium? I’d like to use it.” Anton does not emerge for many hours.
Reener moves up the tunnel, but diverges into the crack to exit into the sunlight via the natural caves. An uneventful morning and afternoon of foraging, hunting, and rock collecting passes before he returns to the cave. He adds to Alfie and Gandogar’s stores of components, and Grimey’s stores of food.
Rakepick spends the day re-exploring every room of the city, save the forge. When Leandron finds the Brinchie idle, he asks to inspect his swords. As the swords are dented from ill use by the Kal, he offers his whetstone to see to their sharpening. The two then spar, both fighting with two blades.
Eska and Zaro return shortly before dinner and everyone gathers for the meal. Gandogar emerges from the furnace, his face bright red. The work has proceeded well, but is not yet complete.
Anton emerges from the laboratory, holding a large object under a cloth. At the table, he shows it to Leandron. The crysarium has been refined and worked. It is now an amber color and evenly shaped into a ball. When Leandron nods, he covers it again and sets it aside.