“let the birds sing hmmm mmm hmmm, I have forgotten the words dilly dally? Hmm that’s not right”
Nereida was startled awake by a strange voice, she found herself in a room with stone walls on a bed of sheepskin and blankets.
“oh, for the love of…. will you tweet somewhere else you’re driving me insane”
In a panic she looked around for her belongings and her foot touched the cold stone floor she winced gasping in air. The stranger appeared in a doorway, she was half of Nereida’s height, her hair red and wild.
“ah, about time you were awake I was thinking we would have to feed you to the wolves…. Geez girl laugh I’m joking the healing light would punish me for that.”
Nereida blinked in the false light
“who…. Where…. What?”
“aahhhhh, I don’t have time for this girlie… Look you were wandering around the wilderness barely alive I might add, I followed you and found you collapsed and well it is my duty as a follower of the healing light that I help those in need.”
“the healing what?”
“light, geez try to keep up, anyway you are in the great dwarven city of Bogam welcome and all that and you can stay here for as long as you like again your welcome”
“dwarven city? Who are you?”
“oh well that was rude of me…. My name is Ravana”
“why haven’t you all been killed by Ryker he hates all beings that are different”
The dwarf grew quiet, “well that is not a story I wish to discuss at this time, but he is an evil man if that is what he is… you should get more rest”
Ravana bowed to leave causing Nereida to panic “please I fear I have rested enough, and I have an important mission”
“oh yeah the Dragonborn….”
“how did you know that?” Nereida suddenly grew suspicious of the stranger
“could you relax please… you talk a lot in your sleep, and I thought you a little mad, but I am assured that the man in the lake is in fact a deity”
“A deity? How can you be sure?”
“well the healing light never lies, and she is my deity of choice even though she came to me”
“came to you in what way?”
“you are inquisitive aren’t you, again missy it is not the time for such chat, but if you insist on being up and awake let’s get you some food.”
The dwarf stomped over and with her strong hands caught Nereida’s arm as she stumbled to her feet suddenly week, she looked worried at the dwarf who smiled back at her, the dwarves face was softened and warm now. Looking at her now Nereida wondered how she could breathe because of the necklace she wore, and what kind of life did she have with the scars on her face. They walked down a dimly lit hallway pasted several grumpy looking dwarves who either mumbled about digging deeper or grunted an acknowledgment as they passed them. Suddenly they walked through a great archway and they were faced with a great cavern, staircases were intricately laid throughout and lanterns lit the vast open space. Above her head Nereida could make out moving shapes but it was unclear what it was, and she dared not dwell on it.
“I know it doesn’t look like much, but it is home” Ravana’s face was filled with pride.
“how… how far unground are we?”
“far enough that the king’s men won’t find us, the way we like it now come on get those legs working”
“are you always this bossy?”
The dwarf laughed and pulled her onwards, until they reached the kitchen where she placed Nereida in a chair and made her eat.
“when you are ready, I can help you out of the city and point you in the direction of the one you seek.”
“and how exactly do you know where he is?”
“divine intervention is all you need to know, now wander the city if you like but I must go and see to the temple”
With that the dwarf was gone, speeding down the corridors driven by some unseen force. No eye contact was made with the residents of the city something pulled her to the temple, she sighed as she crossed the thresh hold. The temple was filled with so much light for an underground city and there was life everywhere you turned.
“I have been expecting you child……”
The voice came from nowhere and everywhere, Ravana had heard it many times and was familiar with it however it still caused her fright.
“hahaha every time Ravana and yet you enter and tend to my temple every day”
“I just don’t expect you to be here is all…. What do you want anyway?”
“careful, I may have chosen you but there are always punishments for our choices. If you must know I’m here to send you on a quest for me if you are truly loyal to me”
“you know I am…. What is this quest?”
“Nereida you will help her….”
“out of the city I know that my father already told me that”
“hmm no, you will go with her on this journey”
“I hate evil child and there is a great one plaguing this land and who better to rid the world of him than me and you”
“I can’t leave the city”
“your father will be pleased, and you know this to be true…. An adventure and quest laid out for you by your deity why wouldn’t he be”
With that she was gone leaving Ravana alone in the temple “great” she stomped out to her room mumbling as she walked. She slammed her room door closed throwing herself onto her bed just as her father limped into the room.
“dearest Ravana, what is wrong?”
The dwarf was old and worn from the many battles that he had been part of over the centuries
“you will be pleased to know that I have been chosen for a quest father”
“what wonderful news, you should leave immediately I will have it arranged”
“don’t I get a say in this? What if I don’t want to?”
“I thought you were strong in your faith and out deity”
“I am but there are other ways to show it not stomping through the wild looking for a dragonborn who is said to be a murderer because some half elf just happens to get themselves into trouble.”
“remember your place here child, you will bring honour to us once again”
With that the old dwarf left the room and once more she was alone. She lay looking at the ceiling the bats chirping outside she screamed as it echoed around the cavern outside her window. After several hours of sulking she pulled herself together changing into travelling clothes, grabbing her hammer and headed to find Nereida who was now playing hide and seek.
“we have to go… well don’t just stand there let’s get going”
“it seems that the higher powers wish me to go with you”
Nereida hugged the dwarf lifting her from the ground in the embrace.
“that was embarrassing don’t do it again…. Now come on”
They walked through the cavern to the cheers of the dwarves, news had spread quickly of the quest and they headed to the gates, standing with a foot on the wall a toothpick in his mouth stood a tall figure with greenish skin. He squinted at them as they approached and when he spoke his voice was deep.
“thought you could leave without saying goodbye did you”
“don’t be stupid, I knew you would be here” said Ravana with a wink
“so, this it then?”
The dwarf grabbed the tall figures shirt pulling him down for a head butt
“get the bloody bags and let’s go” she gave him a kiss as his deep laugh filled the cavern.
“oh, and this is Nereida she’s the reason for this little adventure.”