Tuesday, June 17, 2008


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Monday, June 2, 2008

Storytelling: Book 3, Chapter 4 - Freeing Dori

I reached Othrikar by horse, and I hoped another rider would not take it because it was the only horse available in a stable-full of ponies. Halbarad had told me to find a dwarf-named Dori, whom I vaguely recalled from my scholar studies, and then only because the dwarf had a large stock of items that were of great importance to the scholarly profession.

I knew Hannar, one of the Othrikar leaders, as I had helped him best some of the darkened Dourhand dwarves. Hannar told me grave news that Dori, and his hoard of gems, had been captured by the Dourhands. It was believed he was being held in Ost Galumar, a Dourhand ruinhold, to the west of Othrikar. If I freed Dori, then the dwarves would decide whether to council with the Rangers.

Finding Dori was not hard. I was familiar with Ost Galumar from a prior adventure. I remember raising the flags of the Free People's from the highest stones of the ruins to give my allies hope. The flags, of course, were now down, but it amused me to think of how long and how frustrated the Dourhands had been trying to take down the flags with their short legs.

I killed Dori's guards, and opened the lock to his prison wagon. Instead of running away, something I knew we could do in a matter of minutes, Dori wanted his gems. I did not like the sound of that as I knew tougher guards would be guarding the gems. The dwarves always prized materials over people.

I was seriously considering closing the prison wagon back up, and walking away, when I noticed Moondog sitting high atop the stones peering down at us. He was singing a song about rabbit entering a snake's den to save a mole. A jesting made up on the spot. It did raise my morale enough to decide the correct and righteous course of action, even if it helped the ends of a selfish dwarf.

Dori and I strode through the deeper parts of Ost Galumar, where indeed the guards were better armored and fearsome foes. The only thing that kept me going was Moondog's continuing song of how the rabbit and mole worked together to tie the snakes into knots. Dori and I felled many Dourhand bandits and warriors, and I forgot to keep listening to the song...

But, when we finally reached the hoard of gems, the song had changed. It was a song about the Light cleansing the Dark. A song of Hope. And the tones reverbated through the quieted stones of Ost Galumar. In that moment of clarity, it seemed time stopped. Even the evil birds of the Dourhands watched Moondog's fingers and mouth evoke The Song. Dori spoiled it all with a thunk from a chest opening and an exclamation of materialistic glee.

We got him safely out of the Dourhand hold, and he ran away like a mad man.

Moondog and I also parted ways then. I stayed around Ost Galumar a while longer to gather some ancient pottery shards and dwarven relics. I would have to leave well before sunrise because the dwarves Dori had gone far out of his way to kill were many, and a huge alarm across the Dourhand territory would be raised.

I met with Hannar on my return to Othrikar. He told me that Dori had safely arrived, but he had no news of a hobbit minstrel. Hannar and Dori had discussed the Ranger's proposal before Dori had retired for a long sleep (with his gems). They agreed quickly that the dwarves would lend their might to the council to work furth to fight the Enemy.

I returned to Esteldin to give Halbarad the good news. Thankfully the horse I used was still stabled for my journey to the Ranger encampment. I didn't go in to the story about Dori's riches, and he seemed too distracted to care what I did to get the dwarves to agree. On his small desk was a map with the red markings of the Enemy slashed toward the human settlement of Trestlebridge.