Thursday, 12 September 2013

Entry 23 - The Slag Pit

97th Day of Spring

   Today we had an early start. While we had camped in The Cauldron all night, we still wanted to be on the move quickly and quietly. Numerous suggestions for dealing with the Dark Iron Dwarves had been floating around all morning; some were good, some were...just awful. One such proposal would have us sneak into their sleeping quarters and stealing their pillows! Fortunately, these Dwarves have enough sense to know that that wouldn't be a long-term solution (though they did eventually send some other Dwarves down to steal the pillows anyway - every little helps, I suppose), and have decided on something more...permanent.
   This time, they wanted me to go down and kill a slave driver. At the very least, this was something I could get on board with. I was partnered with a few Dwarves - who were surprisingly light on their feet for such heavily built beings -  and we headed into the Slag pit.
   The first thing I noticed was how stiflingly hot and smelly it was down there. Everything smelled like fire. I had thought it was hot outside, but inside it was worse. I was sweating within minutes. The Dwarves held up much better than I did, but I suppose that, being of Dark Iron descendants, whether they're happy to admit it or not, does give them some resilience to such heat.
   We were down there for hours. While our primary goal was to kill the slave driver, we were also secondarily supposed to be freeing slaves. But that's where things got odd. I have no idea if some of these 'slaves' were actually volunteers, or if their lives outside of the mine were just that bad, because a handful of them were so desperate not to leave that they attacked us on sight. It was sheer madness. The Dwarves who were with me were actually a little upset about the ordeal. I can understand, of course: we were trying to save them, not get them killed. But if people don't want your help, there's nothing you can do. Except perhaps hog-tie them and drag them out to safety.
   We must have freed a few hundred before we found the slave driver. He wasn't much special, though he did have a huge Golem at his side. I admit now to being very grateful that the four Dwarves were with me, because I was almost crushed by that Golem several times, and I really don't know how I could have taken that thing down. But the Dwarves knew their way around such constructs, and were able to disable it. Not that I can fathom any idea as to how it was 'alive' in the first place.
   By the time we got to the rondezvous point further in, night had probably fallen. Inside the Slag Pit it was impossible to tell what time it was. It could have only been midday, and it was just the scorching, burning heat that was making me so drowsy and causing the hours to drag on for so long, but whatever the case, we were given another task. Mercifully, it was easy.
   We were to continue ahead and scout the location around the corner for a safe, secluded place to make camp so that they wouldn't be spotted. I really don't mean to be racially insensitive, but one Dark Iron Dwarf looks the same as another, so I really don't see how the majority of them could be recognised. They'd all dressed as Dark Iron Dwarves - dusty and dark - so that would surely make it harder. I, on the other hand, would stick out like a sore Troll thumb, so I am grateful for the cover all the same, and that leads me to wonder if it wasn't, in fact, for my own benefit.
   We soon found a spot in a dark corner of a craggy room that had surely been ignored for some time, going by the thickness of the dust and ash. I'm not looking forward to sleeping here tonight, in all honesty, but I've got no choice. I wonder if this is going to take long.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

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