(From Kalseth’s Autobiography)
Many historians are aware of the great Oon-Bakar Rebellion. They debate whether we incited the Dwarves, and how much we participated in the fray. What most don’t know is that it was unintentional, and stood on the edge of a knife for most of the battle.
There comes a point, good reader, when caution and diplomacy must be forsaken in the face of cruel evil. I never wished any of it to come to violence, but our discoveries forced the hands of good. First, the Oracle told Nacht that there was indeed no rebellion. Then Kaylia infiltrated the headquarters of the Eyes and Hands of Stones. The tremble in her voice was discernible even through her mushroom form, as she told us of the tortures perpetrated by one she called “the golden Dwarf.” All these innocents, tortured into confessions of a rebellion that did not exist! Not a single one of us hesitated in our decision.
But still, our intention was never to put the populace in danger. The original plan was to fake a rebellion to draw out the Eyes of Stones, so we could capture the golden Dwarf and free the prisoners. With evidence such as that, the Mountain Lords would lose all credibility. We discussed long into the night, trying to find a solution. But at the end, we knew that rigged fires and rumors were not enough. We needed actual Dwarves to sell the threat. So we did the best we could. We stole food from the palace, as Rond smoked out the spies with his peculiar cooking skills, and smuggled them through the city in bags of holding. I set out the food, while Rond and Kaylia searched for flammable materials in the refuse piles. Rond’s mounting frustrations came out in a series of crude pranks, such as when he convinced our sweet but naïve druid to hug me. Normally I would welcome affection from such a fair creature, she had been rooting through trash and she smelled like… trash!Then Rond joined in, smelling even worse. How could he stand it. How could she stand it? There are things I will never understand about the Un-Fey. Rond’s other pranks are far too ugly for such discerning readers such as yourselves, so I will not elaborate. (Scholar’s note: see appendix MXII, attached below.)
With our trap set, I ventured out to find the hardiest and angriest Dwarves I got find. I dared not discuss the plan openly, but subtly insinuated the notion of rebellion. The Dwarves, many of whom lost friends and property to the Eyes, were easily convinced. They set upon the food with wary eyes, while I signaled Nacht. The rogue prince was to play the double agent, and convince the baker he was betraying our plans for rebellion. He must have succeeded, because soon the Mountain Lord’s guards were closing in on the “rebels.”
On cue, Rond’s explosive booby traps made a lot of noise, while Kaylia deftly controlled the breeze to blow the fires harmlessly into the wall. The common Dwarves ran for it, and it looked like our plan was to fail until Rond (discretely) shot the arrow that began the revolution. Suddenly, there was a hail of fire and stones. We stealthfully moved through the chaos, stunning guards as we passed. Yours truly rode through the city, rallying the people with rousing speeches. This would hopefully buy Kaylia enough time to inspire Keldar to lead the fight.
Kaylia later told me that Keldar was initially furious. His home was under siege and there would be many dead Dwarves this day. It was only when she revealed his brother Keldos’ treachery that he listened to her pleas, and took up the mantle of leader. She helped him slip through the guard’s lines undetected, and returned to meet us at the abandoned house.
“We have a problem.” she said, her face pale. Unfortunately, Keldar had ordered his family to defend the house by any means necessary, even if it meant using the Far Realm connection. Understandable in his point of view, as the Far Realm was the only thing keeping the Drow at bay. But think of how much chaos it could unleash should he take that terrible option. We had to end this quickly.
“On the bright side of the wing, the Eyes were drawn out.” she continued. “I saw some of them while I was flying.” And with Nacht melting out of the shadows to join us, it was time for action.
The sewer tunnels were deserted. We quaffed the phasing potions and slipped through the thick stone door. To find about a hundred Eyes queuing up behind it. Gods damn them, being cruel torturers isn’t enough, they’re also too incompetent to get out the door in good time? They’d be kicked out of any Eladrin unit for such sloppiness. Hopefully, such unprofessional troops could work to our advantage. We dodged the door traps and took up position. Kaylia and Nacht took out waves of grunts as Rond and I surrounded the commander. He fought well, but even his ring of invisibility wasn’t enough to save him. The ranks panicked, helped along by our intimidating shouts. They weren’t our true quarry, so we hung back a little, assessing the situation and searching for the Eye’s leader.
The godsforsaken prison was massive; there must be over a thousand prisoners. We had to leave them for the time being, in our search for their tormenter. But the villain had slipped the noose, it seemed, leaving nothing but a recording artifact in the shape of the plate. No doubt meant to trick us into complacency while he escaped like a rat. Indeed, it seemed he had fled straight into the palace itself. The damned prison was right below our noses the whole time!
Prudently, we decided not to run into a fortified castle which might be a trap. Our true goal was to stop the fighting by demoralizing the guards and discrediting the Mountain Lords. For that, we needed the testimony of the prisoners. There was no time to free them all, so we found a leader, a former assistant to Mountain Lord Stow, to organize the prison break and tend to the wounded. We told them to stay put for the time being; no telling what was going on outside. We took about two dozen volunteers as witnesses. The sewers were again deserted, and we made good time. Kaylia made chalk markings as a road map for the other prisoners, just in case. Rond slipped forward and peered steathfully outside.
“Damned fighting’s reached us.” he said grimly, and with a shout he ran out to join the fray. The rest of us climbed up the stairs for a better view. The guards were breathing fire at the commoners, who hit back with stones, rusted weapons, whatever they had on hand. I suppressed my guilt; told myself they had chosen this, that there was no other way to stop the silent terror. I fey-stepped into the middle of a large group, intending to hit them all with divine light.
Their fire breath hit hard, and I found myself feeling lightheaded from the sulfur. I got off one round of light before Kaylia rescued me, having jumped out of a burning building, blinded half the guards, and dominating one of the sorcerers. I gratefully retreated toward Rond, where I could catch my breath. Nacht dodged a spell and floated gracefully down from the roof, where he started a duel with a fire breathing guard. We needed to bring them down quickly, before they discovered the rescued prisoners…
(To be continued…)
Scholar’s Appendix MXII
(The true author of this Limerick is unknown, but it started circulating among the Dwarves of Oon Bakar just after the Rebellion).
There once was a Paladin Knight
Who always thought he was right.
So we slipped him some prunes,
and sure as the moons,
His pants were all covered in shite!