Location: underground mines
Bulloth was confused. He no longer had any control over his body and was now only able to ride along inside the metal golem as it headed downward towards the center of the planet. "Well, this is absolutely rotten luck," Bulloth muttered as he watched the tunnel walls pass by him.
Suddenly, there was a light ahead along with the sounds of people mining. The metal golem, part of Bulloth now, trudged onward, seemingly ignoring the sounds. The golem shambled into a large empty cavern. This cavern was not natural as the walls were all smooth and had many smaller tunnels going in a variety of directions, most heading in a downward direction.
All at once the golem was surrounded by hundreds of short men, all wielding mining picks or hammers. The golem tried to keep walking but found that it couldn't move because of the shining chains wrapped around its arms and legs. "Dwarves," Bulloth said. No one heard him since he could no longer be heard by anyone.
The dwarves dragged their new captive towards the clan chiefs personal cave. "Hey chief. We caught a golem wandering into the main hall," one of the dwarves shouted towards the cave entrance. The dwarf that had shouted motioned for the dwarves holding the chains to bring the golem forward.
An elderly dwarf with a steel gray beard and a bald head limped out of the cave. The 'chief' was a fearsome looking dwarf. He had a peg leg made out of a trolls' finger bone. His face was heavily scarred and battered, with deep creases around his eyes.
The chief studied the creature standing in front of him. After several long moments, the chief motioned the dwarf that had shouted at him to come forward. "Barlol, go fetch the mage. He should be in his study with his new 'pet'." From the way the chief said the word 'pet', it was quite evident that he did not like it at all.
"Right away chief." With that, Barlol ran off towards the largest cave. The golem still struggled to get free and reach the earths core. The dwarves paid no attention to the beasts struggles as they staked out the chains, making certain that the golem didn't have any freedom of movement.
A few minutes later, Barlol returned with one of the oddest looking dwarves Bulloth had ever seen. The new arrival had his dark brown beard trimmed short. He had large round spectacles that made his eyes seem huge, like the eyes of an owl. The dwarf was wearing an apron that had large smudges in various colors along the front, and in each pocket was some kind of tool, most of which Bulloth couldn't guess what they did.
The 'mage' looked the golem up and down. Then he walked around the golem, looking at it from every angle. After pulling a starge device that looked like a magnifying glass, the mage walked right up to the golem and looked at each crease with the glass. After several minutes of studying the golem, the mage hurried over to the chief.
While all this had been going on, Bulloth had managed to regain a limited amount of control over his body. Bulloth forced the beast that was controlling his body to hand control of the body back to Bulloth.
The mage had just started to explain his findings to the chief when a dull thump sounded from behind him. He turned back to find the golem sitting cross legged on the ground and drawing in the dirt. Intrigued by this gesture of intelligence, the mage hurried back to the golem to get a better look at what the golem was drawing. Once he could see the drawings properly, the mage instantly recognized them as writing. The words the golem had written on the floor were more then enough to convince the mage that his first suspicion was true, this was no golem.
Lonoth had looked everywhere for Bulloth but to no avail. Bulloth had just disappeared. Lonoth turned back towards the Black Ranger. The man had been helping Lonoth look for Bulloth. Together, they had managed to find and follow Bulloth's tracks a good distance away from the village before the tracks were lost in a small dip in the ground.
"I think that Bulloth will be able to handle himself. Where ever he is." Dispite his own attempts at convincing himself, Lonoth still couldn't help but worry about his close friend of over four centuries.
The Black Ranger looked at Lonoth with the same, stony look that had been plastered to his face since he had introduced himself. "I think it would be best if we stopped searching for him and returned to the refugees, my lord," the Black Ranger responded, with the same expressionless face.
Lonoth sighed in resignation and turned his back on the indent in the otherwise flat ground. As he followed the Ranger down into the mine entrance that they had followed Bulloths tracks through. As he walked down the twisting passageway, Lonoth thought of Bulloth's strange behavior up to the point of his disappearance.
Bulloth stumbled to the ground and collapsed in a heap on the ground. Lonoth walked over and lifted his loyal friend back up, throwing Bulloth's arm around his shoulders so as he could support the giants weight.
"Put me down, please. I need to rest," Bulloth slurred in a soft whisper that was barely audible. Lonoth complied and slid his friend down to the floor of the tunnel, off to one side so as not to get in the way of the villagers traveling down the rough carved corridor of stone.
Lonoth looked around to see if there was anyone enemies entering the tunnel. The only people that Lonoth could see were Crafton and his two goblin aides. "What's the problem?" Crafton asked, genuinely concerned for the giant hammer wielding warrior that had saved his hide multiple times during the fighting. The two goblins kept walking until they bumped into Crafton's back, dropping something that hit the floor with a thump and a groan of pain. Lonoth strode over to the inert form lying on the floor between the two arguing goblins. The inert form happened to be the unconscious leader of the town's militia, Feldered. The man did not look to be in very good condition. His face was pale and he was perspiring through his uniform, creating a terrible stench.
"Bulloth collapsed and needed to take a rest," Lonoth replied, still more than a little worried about Bulloth's health. Leaning over Feldered, Lonoth noticed that the goblins had actually done a fair job of patching up the mans wounded shoulder and had made sure that the poultice on his shoulder was changed regularly. "Well, it seems that you two goblins are actually decent healers."
At this remark, both goblins ducked their heads in embarrassment, scuffing the ground with their mucky shoes. "It weren't notin' sir," the goblin standing behind Feldered muttered.
"Oi did all oi could to help 'im," the other goblin said, equally embarrassed.
"Oi was the one what knew what t' do!" the other goblin responded immediately.
"No ye weren't!"
This lasted for several minutes as both goblins tried to prove that they were the one that had actually patched up Feldered.
"I think that you should both pick him up again and get to the camp," Crafton told the goblins in a no-nonsense tone. The two arguing goblins picked up their injured patient once more and carried him down the tunnel, still arguing about who had helped more.
Lonoth turned towards the paladin and said, "Their both helpful creatures, despite their race and, well, over all lack of wits."
"I agree that they do lack in wits but their both loyal and obedient companions," Crafton said, steadfastly defending his companions.
"I apologize if I insulted you in anyway. I meant no insult in saying that they lack wits and that, as we both know, is true," Lonoth said, bowing a little towards Crafton.
Crafton returned the bow and turned towards Bulloth. To his surprise and shock, Bulloth had disappeared! "Where is he?!?" Crafton shouted in dismay.
Lonoth walked into the camp and into utter chaos. Villagers were running all over, scrambling to collect small children, family members, and whatever valuables they had brought with them.
Lonoth made his way through the crowd, heading towards Jack Fiddlestumps command tent. Upon reaching the tent, Lonoth found a group of graceful horses standing near the small pond beside the tent, nibbling on some grass. Lonoth walked into the tent.
And once again into utter chaos. The only four people that weren't running around were Gerodal, BeDar, Bulor, and a young officer, wearing the colors of Jacks army. Lonoth walked over to Gerodal and leaned towards the smaller man so as he could be heard over the cacophony. "What's going on?" Lonoth asked the ex-commander, making sure to raise his voice slightly so as he could be heard.
Gerodal replied with a single word that sent slight shivers down Lonoth's back, "Elves."
Dwarves shall conquer all!!!