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Gastlinyk Gate Survival

The moment that just transpired is forever burned into my mind. As I toiled at the wall I must have looked like a tasty treat squirming over an obstacle to big for its clumsy build. I noticed every detail of the beast hurdling out of the sky at me. The mask on my helmet changed its expressions, its eyes grew wide and open, ears swung forward, a horrid shock took over as it did on my own hidden face. As his out reached hands readied for snatching cringed and retracted in a disgusted this dragon began to rear and abort its trajectory. It was too late at this point, my quick roll to cover was far enough to avoid a collision. The dragons hind legs did smash into the wall as his control faded causing a wing to come down on a buildings roof. This dragon had completely lost control of its flight and was careening dangerously in spirals off into the distance. Conveniently enough the wall was demolished and now an easily climbable pile of rubble. The Magi-pry was also in perfect shape, lodged under a few rocks and bricks I was able to recover it and preceded without much further hassle. Once on the inside of the wall I wanted back out. The full weight of what I was about to undertake hit me. I didn’t know where to go next, fear and the instinctual need to hide was pushing me in three directions. I thought I was near the place in my dream, behind a familiar temple with no markings on the outside as to which god it belonged to. I hugged it for safety anyways. Only the gods knew if that dragon was going to come back for revenge. The wind was still fierce and visibility was nothing more than a few hundred feet now with the sand stirred up from the crashing dragon. I couldn’t see the sky of dragons and clouds anymore; it was all frozen rain, snow, and sand swirling about attacking everything in its path. I tried to remain calm and focused. I set myself a task to find shelter, a command post to start my searching from. A safe haven I could hide from all this danger for a spell.

I wasn’t too picky in my searching for a hideout. I checked under rocks and in collapsed towers for anything I could fit into and not be found so easily. The streets of Arik now are dunes of sand covering most everything, tracks last only a few minutes in this storm, my worry of being seen traveling from building to building and being followed are being eased by the storms intensity. As dangerous the storm is, it is a blessing in devilish disguise. As I come around another building I find myself back at the wall I crossed over to gain entry to the city. I had already done a full circle without knowing it and in only ten minutes roughly. With the great distances between the ruins and buildings still remaining in Arik, it is hard to plot a course and staying hidden in the surroundings when you can’t see either of them. I tried again though, to plot a course into the city without landing back at my starting point again, when I found a strange grate near a dilapidated tent close to the center of the city. It was hidden from view on two sides leaving only one side to watch out for. It was partially covered in sand, wasn’t long before I had it cleared away and trying to pry it open. The Magi-pry popped it open like a cork in a wine bottle. The grate had only two holes in it and they were plugged up, upon opening it looked as though it was an access point to the sewers. A ladder set into the stone walls of the shaft leading into darkness was cold and dripping with fresh melt off. A mixture of warm and cool air swirled in the shaft, warm from below and cold rushing down it combined making this the warmest place I had found yet. I reached the bottom only to find a skeleton hunched in the corner holding onto its favorite treasures. The shaft opened up into a larger opening, it didn’t look like a sewer but maybe a dried up well. I cast a light spell upon the dagger in the hand of the skeleton and ascended back up the latter to close off the top. Midway I stopped with the eerie feeling I may be repeating this skeletons own fate. Maybe he got stuck down here; maybe he closed it thinking the same as I and the grate was covered by a new dune. I searched my pockets for a picking tool. I wedged the tool between the lid and its recessed threshold propping it open ever so slightly. If the lid became covered in sand, I might not be able to open it. But with it this way, just maybe the Magi-Pry would save me from certain death again and wedge it up enough to let in more air. I wish not to suffocate down here.

Settling in at the bottom of this well with a skeleton was more welcoming than anything I could have guessed to be down in such a place. I thought this place perfect for a better rest. I was already exhausted from my journey of only two hours. I had to restack the bleached white frozen bones into a neater pile so I could stretch out my bed roll enough for a good sleep. I didn’t think it would mind since I left its trinket and dagger in hand and on top of the pile. When I woke to it thanking me I was assured it didn’t care. I replied to it my normal trained response. “I’m only passing through, just a few more minutes please.” When I opened my eyes to see who or what I was speaking to I first looked to the bones before noticing a ghostly figure above them continuing to talk on the matter.
“Dweeble likes it better, before Dweeble looked sad. Dweeble look neat and clan now.” Spoke the voice of the apparition.
“What? It was really no trouble; you were sort of taking up all the room in here.” I replied rubbing my eyes.
“Dweeble no mind sharing, Dweeble like company. You’re first to visit Dweeble.” The ghost spun around over his skeleton as if dancing in joy.
“I didn’t mean to intrude, had I known this place was still being used, I…”
“Dweeble not mad. You welcome here. Dweeble enjoy company.” The ghost fidgets with his hands letting them melt away into his apparitionous mass.
“I take it you are Dweeble? My name is Opinvu. Opinvu Usken. I come from Foothold.”
“Dweeble is dead. I was Dweeble. Dweeble knew peoples from Foothold. They Free Dweeble from Master.”
“Dweeble, why are you a ghost then? I could bury your bones and help free you from here, you know that?” I changed the subject that was quickly about to die but wasn’t going to allow me to sleep. Dweeble responded with an unexpected tone.
“No! Don’t take me from here master Opinvu! No! Dweeble is home. Dweeble thought leaving good when Corgano come and try to save Dweeble. Dweeble no want to go anywhere.” He replied.
So naturally I asked the same question again. “Why Dweeble?”
“Dweeble here. Dweeble nothing before Dweeble die here, Dweeble become nothing when leave here. Here, Dweeble in home, Dweeble a hero to friend Corgano.”
“How are you a hero? You help him somehow?” I knew this was an easy task. I had met Corgano several times and even crafted him a beautiful wedding ring for Miss Aelswith. That man was always in need of some kind of help; help with words, with directions, and probably even with eating soup. I wish he had come to me for help child rearing too. If I was going to break my promise to myself about relations with another ever again, it would have been for a woman like that. I didn’t contemplate the answer Dweeble gave; my mind was wandering off in the wrong direction again.
“Dweeble no remember things so good. Dweeble remember friends though. Dweeble remember what Corgano do for Dweeble. Dweeble helped Corgano and saved him. Dweeble want to do more. Help more. Dweeble do well now.”
“Well Dweeble, you could help me. I need to find a special towel, a surprisingly dry towel. It is said to be hidden in this city.”
“Dweeble no need towels. Dweeble don’t remember.”
“Dweeble, you have to help me find it. If you don’t help me, I will bury your bones.” I didn’t think before I made the threat. Threatening a ghost to do him in isn’t a wise thing to do, or good negotiating. Dweeble ran screaming, he ran through the walls of the well up to the street level where I heard his voice echo down the shaft of my hideout. I wasn’t sure what to make if it, was he going to come back, or was he running off to show me this towel, or what I had no idea. I didn’t want to contemplate it and jinx my luck. I waited sitting quietly for nearly an hour before sleep pulled me back down to the floor. Not sooner than my eyes shut they were jolted back open by my name being called with a feverish haste.
“Master Opinvu, Master Opinvu, Opinvu! Dweeble help, Dweeble search dangerous place with Opinvu. Don’t bury Dweeble!”
“Where did you go Dweeble? Do you really know where it is or where to look?” I asked him.
“Dweeble don’t know, but Dweeble help any way Master Opinvu wants.”
“Alright Dweeble, I appreciate it, I really would like that. Can I get a quick nap first though? You can start looking if you want to. But, I need this sleep. You don’t have to worry, I won’t ever bury you. You after all are a hero and could be for me too.” He nodded to my request with buggy eyes and floated away. I am not sure how much longer I slept, but when I awoke, he was there again hovering over his pile of bones doing a little silent dance waiting for me.
“Good morning Dweeble. How is the weather up there?”
“Good evening master. The Sun is ready to set in the horizon master Opinvu, it is not morning.” He replied.
“Ahh, excellent, thank you Dweeble. That is good to know. Was your searching fruitful?” He answered with a shake of the head and a long pause.
“Dweeble not know what a towel is. Dweeble look in old temples though. Dweeble only find sleeping slavers and giants and pretty sashes.”
“That is ok Dweeble, a towel is just a fluffy cloth you dry yourself with that is about this big.” As I give him the dimensions in arm length gestures I take the opportunity to tell him all I know about Kaldt being in some kind of danger and how the Lich that lies under Yar is some how involved despite it’s presumed destruction by Sar long ago. Dweeble’s good listening skills let my discursive tendencies saunter off into the entire story about the Domeier and how Sar killed the Lich and details of the dreams Spana and I shared about the forest being consumed by an unseen force. In the telling of this history I recalled the mages story about his own experience with Kaldt requesting help from him and some of the Ravens group. He was the one to tell us of the towel and the Magi-pry. Dweeble was very familiar with the tool and claimed to hate it more than being dead. It just so happened that Dweeble was a servant to the inventor for a spell during the time of its creation. Not being the best of storytellers and a memory of that of a goat, I pieced together the history behind the tool.

Dweeble said this strange weapon was originally invented to pry up extremely large and heavy objects and move them by pivoting on the focal point of the tool after the object was lifted, the design gave enormous leverage. It wasn’t until the operators of these tools banned together in protest of the forced use of such a back breaking tool in order to save money on rope and pulleys, these tools were found to be better used as weapons for one side was sharp. The inventor of this tool was eventually beheaded with his own creation. Historians say he was in the wrong market his whole life. He was also known for the double sided shovel, dual-ended pick axe with a spaded paw, and the seven handled bucket. He was only allowed to invent these tools for the king’s men after the ruling lord of Arik found he was the one who invented the hoe. But, he invented the hoe to spite the man who stole his idea for the spade.

Consequently, this tool is the only in existence that allows anyone able to carry the thing to lift nearly 5 tons straight up nearly 1 foot off the ground. It is said that this endeavor followed after he became dreadfully fearful of being crushed. This was due to the witnessing of his own wife and children being crushed by a mammoth while they sat on the only patch of grass out side the temple in the Timeless Desert. For five days the mammoth stood atop them refusing to budge no matter how many men and crane was hauled to its location then rebuilt to lift the mammoth off their bodies. Dweeble believes the mammoth was a reincarnation of someone who spited the inventor and had sought him out specifically. The mammoth had died from starvation when they finally got it moved to collect the bodies for burial. The temple priests wouldn’t allow any harm to come of the mammoth, the guard wouldn’t allow anyone to feed it. The grass was burned in an attempt to scare it. When that didn’t work the man was left to his own devices………………………..