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Will of the Banshee
Bad Timing, Worse Timing
Krumdrumtilkak gripped the stout bow rail as he angled his back toward the gently
swaying lantern, that dimly lit the mid section of the barge. He peered squint-eyed across the
slowly approaching island. "Rust an' ruin!" he thought, as he scanned the heart of the island
city. Naeroghtel, the immense stone stalagmite that measured time for the dark elf city of
V'elddrinnsshar, was cold and dark. Their stay on the spider infested island would be prolonged,
at least until Naeroghtel began to warm. An attack by kuo-toa raiders several days ago not only
cost the lives of a number of slaves, but had caused an unacceptable delay. He knew he must
deliver the shipment to House Shrae'Dennet by the first warming of Naeroghtel, or he might
never leave this foul city.
He turn, his thick hand shielding his eyes from the lantern light, and shouted "Dully! Gie yer
crease ower 'ere!"
Dulnurikal, with all the haste his short legs could muster, quickly made his way across the
barge to the senior duergar merchant. Krumdrumtilkak stood nearly a head taller than the younger
Dully, and bore a full grey beard near to his waist, while Dully's youthful darker beard, was but a
couple of hand spans in length. As he approached he said dutifully, "Aye keptin, whit woods ye hae
ay me?" Krumdrumtilkak commanded sternly, "Be gettin' yerself tae hoose Shrae'Dennet, as fest as
ye can, an' teel 'em we be comin' at first warmth wi' th' shipment!" With a quick nod of his head he
said "Aye keptin, strait awa'." With that, Dulnurikal turn from his captain, and made his way to the
loading ramp, ready to speed his way to House Shrae'Dennet.
As goblin slaves tugged and tied the thick ropes that would secure the barge to the docks,
Dulnurikal hastily scurried across the ramp to the docks. Krumdrumtilkak knew this could likely be the
last time he saw the lad, alive at least. A drow city in the cool dark, was one of the most dangerous
places to be, especially alone. In the dark there was but one law, no witnesses. Houses rose and fell,
entire family lines ended in one savage attack, all under the cool darkness of Naeroghtel. Such was
the way of the Spiderqueen's drow. He had little choice in the matter however, they had to deliver the
shipment as soon as possible, or he and all the lads might find this city to be the end of them.
Dulnurikal had made this journey many times before. The year prior his father and patron of Clan
Darkmine had acquired the apprenticeship from Clan Grimcoin. His father had thought the lad needed
worldly experience, exposure to the foul natures of thier neighbors. He had little trouble in the cities
they traveled to, the trade routes however had proven quite hazardous. Many times the expedition had
come under attack from bandits seeking their wares, or a foul beast in a mood, or perhaps just hungry.
He had acquitted himself quite well in those small conflicts, never a serious injury. He had now been
given a task, to deliver a message swiftly. As with all such things in his life, he committed to the task.
He sped as fast as his short sturdy legs could manage. Down narrow passages between the limestone
stalagmites buildings that rose like fingers reaching greedily towards the dark ceiling. Up sloping passages,
and around towering stalagmites. The streets nearly devoid of residents, at this late hour. At last coming
to the narrow bridge that would lead him to House Shrae'Dennet's main gate. He hastened across the fragile
looking bridge of shaped limestone, to the large dark gates of the house. The gates stood open, only
partially so, perhaps a stout duergar's width. He paused to catch his breath, and compose himself, before
slipping through the dark opening. He had visited House Shrae'Dennet many times over the past year, while
a stuffy lot, they were friendly enough. He hoped that would continued to be so.
He calmly stepped though the open gates and into darkness. He heard what sounded like a distant thud
and a sudden sharp pain in his head. The world faded away.