My deep slumber, predictably interrupted by the summons of the city council, only lasted a few hours and failed to refresh. Fifteen minutes later, I sat at the large table in City Hall. I waited. Five minutes. Alexey and Aimon showed. Ten minutes. Tea was served. Twenty minutes were peppered with small talk. My eyes rested on an impressive suit of ancient dwarven armor displayed in the corner. As I pondered why it was here, Gledrick finally arrived. Likely the runner sent for him didn’t know to look in The Bludgeoning Ogre.
Konnor Hale started the conversation by asking about the surviving woodsmen. All eyes turned to Alexey. He couldn’t speak and simply looked down at his hands in his lap. Aimon reported that only Egsy and Sven remained. Alexey convulsed in his chair and his quiet sob tore the silence.
“Thar is no blame here,” announced Burdick, drawing all the eyes to him again. “They volunteered. We all new the risks. Thar is no blame to lay on anyone.”
We all nodded, except Alexey.
The conversation turned to a review of what we had seen and experienced on our journey. Aimon took the lead, but I was very particular about highlighting the need for research on each point. Aimon described the encounter with the swarm of insects at the pixie’s house. I pointed out the similarities to Andor‘s cabin that needed research. Aimon mentioned that Gruncheck traveled north to try to recruit help from orcs. I stated that research into the orc tribes and methods may help us prepare. Aimon talked about the strange skrimshaw bone we found. Another clear example of my need to research. At every turn, I pushed. I’d need weeks to research everything, maybe even months. I would begin tomorrow, after a long sleep.
The council discussed tactics and readiness for the town. The key point rested on how to effectively defend the borders of the town, including the docks, since the hobgoblins apparently built ships. After much debate, and a vote, we all agreed that the mines would be much easier to defend, though I dislike the idea of putting the entire town in a bottle. I brought up the question about the mines tapping into the Underdark.
This spurred another debate which wasn’t settled until Gledrick’s venerable father came into the council room and talked about the mines – his mines. He claimed they were far too young to have found their way down that far. He recalled a few goblin scouts or patrols wandering in over the years, but doesn’t think hobgoblins ever made it into the mines. This put an end to any opposition and drew the meeting to a close. Hammer Hill will recede into the protective belly of the mines.
Gledrick stayed to talk with Burdick as the rest of us filed out. I found myself outside The Bludgeoning Ogre, in want of food and drink. I decided to try a seldom used spell, and after a moment, walked into the inn as… Gledrick the dwarf. I sat down in Gledrick’s normal seat and within seconds a tall ale and a hot stew were set in front of me. The barkeep asked whether I wanted to settle the tab. Knowing I had Gledrick’s looks, but not his voice, I merely shook my head in a dwarvenly contemplative manner.
I left, walked to my bedroom at the university, and fell into a dreamless void.