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More Background Writing for my Pathfinder Game.

{Excerpted From the DragonPort weekly (and perhaps world's only) Newspaper, The Tatler}

The following is a translation from Old Dwarvish into the common tongue, from the Original Source Material provided to the Weekly Tatler, and this reporter.

The following report,  be it truth or fiction, was found to be a scroll on a kind of vellum not seen since the time the old Lands were young; a scroll that washed ashore inside a rather large wine bottle, magically corked.

Your Reporter of Tales Tall & Small: El-Ray P. Dodds Presents:

The Last Dwarf In the Old Lands
A Memoir by Rusilka Muntansdottir,
Last of The Old Dwarves.

My name is Rusilka Muntansdottir, I am fairly certain that I am the last of my kind, at least on this continent; I have searched all the lands I could not find any living souls, and those were few enough in this barren wasteland that legend says was once lush, green and savage. Savage it still is, but there is little that is green that does not want to kill you, and eat you

Like allOld Dwarves,” I was born in theCaligulaorLittle BootMountains as you may know them. Im going to start my story with the point behind why Im bothering to take this long shot (of themagically sealed at least”) that is the old note in a bottle cry for help.

As a Dwarf I make it a rule to ignore the ocean, and hope that it does the same for me. Alas, I beg of you as a sad outsider, hear my plea; that you stay away from the Old Lands, which mayhap is no news to you, as most northerners have long ignored the few of us who remain. But there is something finally growing in these lands, it is not green with life, but rather red like blood and death

Oh gods, Im not meant to be a chronicler , Im a Warrior, the Last of the Six, I seek to paint my pictures with either the blood or the tongues of my enemy. War and Diplomacy were all I knew, or wanted to know, as One of The Six. I guess as the last of us, I finally get a turn as Leader... I guess some good has come out of our fall. Nay, thats not true, I am simply the last example of how we lost our way, and helped cause the darkness to stir in ways it has not since the times when the Old Lands, as they are now called, were the New Lands, the Utopia of the Future.

So, onto it already, then as; a mere three years (at my best reckoning) ago, I was one of the Last Tribe of Old Dwarves still afoot in the Land, we had settled atop the Plateau on the top of the boot, the Wide Thigh the area was called amongst Us Dwarvenkind, to others it was simplyThe Plateau.” A vast flat grassland that had turned into a thriving multicultural town, more of an interspeciesUtopia,” we had, more democratically ruled than any part of The Freedom Archipelago. I played cards every Thors Day with a Bugbear and three Orcs. The orcs are poor bluffers in general, Bugbears always bluff, at least at cards.

In the end, the multicultural tolerance of our small community ended up saving those of us that have survived and scattered, after the The Dragons came home to roost

Apparently (I found out much later) our little plateau town was built directly upon the Dragonsmost scared temple that had been destroyed  when the Old Humans and the Old Dwarves joined forces with The Elves (all 99 of them) to drive the Dragons from The Lands.

No one ever has really questioned the history, of this 1000 year old event. Where did the Dragons go? Are they coming Back? Important question, being as the answer wasYesin a big way.

The Community Guard, known asThe Six.” fought the Dragons as best we could, but we were soon overwhelmed, by the sheer number of young Dragons that had seemingly come from nowhere (more true than not, again, Ill fill you in later) and 3 of the Six had fallen before we could get our wits about us, to call a retreat, and evac of those few who hadnt run for the hills at the first sign of Dragons. One of those sun blocking array of Dragons that I have come to expect every time I enter shadow, is what it was that drove most to the Barrens.

The rest of us, retreated as best we could, with Einar, my husband and only other living Old Dwarf was burned through by a gigantic Green Dragon that seemed to me too large and old to be real, meeting his eye was one of those moments that made me realize that I am even smaller than I ever imagined. the creature seemed to be as old and magical as the old times, and I think he had me in a spell, or some sort of thrall.

As I remember making eye contact, with that giant emerald eye, flush with experience, age and life, so much life... and then I woke on horseback, almost in the ditch, as I giddyaped us back on to the trail. Benjaman the Half Orc Captain Of The Six, was next to me (on his Warg that he had tamed to be his mount. The thing spit at me as often as it seemed to lick its chops and smile at me like I was lunch.) and noticed my not so subtle awakening.

Looks like its just you and me Kid,” he growled in his guttural version of Common. I coughed back at him in Orcish, “ Im 100 years older than you, stop calling me Kid.”

He laughed that hyena laugh of his, and grinned at me shyly, so shyly, that I knew he was working up condolences on Einars death. I nodded at him vigorously until he seemed to catch on that words were not what I needed right then.

I needed coffee, and to know where the hell I was, if not how I got here, or there. From what I pieced together from Ben, and some of the 30 odd of us; is that, we were whisked as it were, into some sort of large starry portal that appeared all around us like a giant invisible globe of energy. Our surroundings changed. I had been asleep longer than most, and by the time Id awoke, the one Goblin who among us had a compass told us in his pidgin Orcish that as far as he could tell we were somewhere nearThe Old Mans Nose,” a peninsula some 1000 leagues from our home, now The Dragons Home, I guess.

The Old Mans Nose was a barren stump of  rock. No life had been here for many centuries, least wise none that we could espy, so we marched our group as quickly as our meagre rations and bit of scrounging (the land is not quite so barren in the Plains as one might have been led to believe, or maybe we were the first in an age to see that the wasteland had found some life

We stopped in an area of Ruins known as Arkathor, legendary city of the Elves from the Golden Age when There were thousands of Elves living crowded in every city. Arkathor itself, was famous as a mostly Elven City. Their Opera House was the most famed in all the Lands.

There was apparently some sort of plague or scourge, and almost all the inhabitants died, after that the Elves stopped congregating in such large cities, and have in a thousand years gone from being sophisticated Urban Dwellers with direct connections to the magic of the crowd, to a scattered group of nature worshippers and pagan hedonists

There are supposedly still 99 Elves here in The old Lands, but at least one Died with The Six back at the Dragon Gate, so maybe 98. There may be many more than I know of, The old Lands are vast, Ive in fact seen only a scant few Elves in my 3 years wandering. Arkathor became a home of sorts for us for a few months. Sturdily constructed from a magic mud concrete concoction that we couldnt duplicate, but were able to build upon a few close buildings became our barracks, kitchens, and stables.

Some gardening was undertaken, and people were thinking cautiously about naming the place New Arkathor, or maybe giving it some new name with a new significance, Like Survivorville, or something. I wanted no part of naming things yet. I was feeling as if i might still be enchanted by that old old Dragon who had me charmed. Our Sorcerer (who is a real pervert, by the way, half elf name ofCronus.” Very handsy, very. He almost lost them both to my axe that one time, but thats a story for another day, at that moment,, he assured me, I was no longer under the charm of the dragon, due to our great distance from him, after going through the portal. I was relieved for a moment. Thats when the Giants showed up.

They were the creepiest pair of Hill Giants I had ever seen. Hill Giants at their prettiest seem inbred, these ones had eyes that glowed like a Vampire on a bender, and they wore these strange shiny black leather costumes, riding chaps, with no undergarments, or pants, chains criss crossing their scarred bodies, both woreslave collarsand pulled each other this way and that as they screamed at our Front GateGuard of The Day,” Lady Tabitha, the Catfolk Ambassador from The Freedom Archipelago; who, until I saw her being screamed at by these Sex Deviant Hill Giants, Id forgotten had the misfortune to be visiting our Plateau for the first time, to arrange a trade deal between the Archipelago, and the Plateau.

She was handling their seemingly unmotivated rage with all the prowess any Feline creature has to ignore those around it. She was cleaning her claws, sharpening them, concentrating fully on that task, oblivious to the Giants blather until one got close enough to bathe her in his foamy spittle rant (something about these two beingthe Nice Giantsand that they only needone volunteer a week”) as she drew from her belt a cloth, she wiped the Giant spit from her whiskers. Her tongue would not touch everything. Just as quickly she drew her Assassins Guild Dragon Dagger across his throat and watched him fall face first clutching at his open arteries

The second one didnt even have time to draw his stone axe before she was peppering his face with poisoned throwing stars. He too fell in a clump, next to his friend. His hand lay across the others bare buttock, as if we were playing a joke on them. We werent joking, we were running into a our little village that never did get a name. We tried our damnedest to get everyone to once again, retreat, evacuate. This small group, mostly had had enough of running, as only Six of us wanted to live past tomorrow when otherless niceHill Giants come looking for their kin

At this point, in fact, I decided the community had finally died, and we were just a band of people trying to get across the land, maybe to the Freedom Archipelago (like Tabitha) or like me Heading out into theNew Lands,” if I can bear the Sea, and (not many a Dwarf can, if the legends are true) if I can find a sail to take me wherever that may be

My companions for the final leg of my journey included the aforementioned Tabitha, who I quickly have become friendlier with than any non Dwarf Ive ever known. It is a Strange kinship to be sure. She is the fastest sword Ive seen in all my years, adventuring, Ranging, and defending my home. There was Cronus, of whom my mistrust was (aside from the handsiness) most greatly misplaced. Perhaps my cliched Dwarven prejudices against magic at play there

There was Young Percy, a Half Elven (who could alwayspassfor human if need be) Archer of great skill, but little experience. I called him Sir GreenWood, until he earned his stripes with that Owlbear in the WeirWood.

Also deciding to come with us wasThe Widow,” as she was called behind her back, despite her always wearing some kind of mourning clothes, and veils. She was an oddball who was as socially inept as she was in fact a powerful Witch, who saved my sorry Dwarf butt more times than I probably even know about. Hated herself, and often the world, but loved us, her friends, the only ones she ever had, she told us, before she died.

Lastly there was My next door neighbour and card shark friend Alphonse the Bugbear Ranger. I never once thought Alphonse was his real name, too Human sounding, but the more you knew him, the more it suited him. I hope he is still alive where ever he has gotten to.

Hopefully I can squeeze all my scrolls into this giant wine bottle Ive just finished. I will write more on the morrow of our adventure that got us here to the edge of the mighty Ocean.

That Dear Reader is the end of the first scroll of 
“The Last Dwarf In The Old Land”
Watch next week’s newspaper for 
The 2nd exciting instalment.


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