Chapter Forty-three: Warden Gauwyn
Gauwyn placed his foot on the chest of a slain ogre as he cleaned the blade of his battleaxe. more lay strewn over the rocks around him. They put up a good fight but like most of Gauwyn’s enemies, they ultimately fell to his battleaxe. Done with equipment maintenance, he took a humming communication stone from a pouch on his belt and answered it.
“Gauwyn, it’s Rewalt. I’ve got something that requires your immediate attention”, the Head of the Adventurers’ Guild said.
“What do you require, Grandmaster?” he asked respectfully.
“Tell me, are you done with your visit to the dwarves?” his boss asked.
“The agreement was renewed days ago, Grandmaster. You have nothing to worry about”, Gauwyn immediately assured the man.
“I never had doubts, Warden!” the Grandmaster told him. “I just wished to know if you were still in the mountains or not.”
The axeman looked out at the snowy peaks in the distance and the cliffs to his left and said, “Well, I am not in the mountains, sir.”
“Let me guess”, the Grandmaster said drily. “They have you fighting ogres and stone giants on the ridge?”
“Just ogres this time”, Guawyn admitted. “Some of the tribes refuse to the get the message. They have returned to raiding dwarven shipments.”
“Well pack it up, Warden. I need you heading East”, his boss barked.
Gauwyn frowned. The man seemed agitated. That was never a good sign.
“A dungeon has been discovered in the hills next to The Galronde. Technically, that’s your turf. I need you to head over there and hold things down”, the man was saying.
Gauwyn’s interest was peaked. A new dungeon! That was big news. No wonder Grandmaster Rewalt was so worked up. Something this monumental happening in his tenure? He had to handle it very carefully. His eyes widened when he realised that the same could be said for him. The dungeon was, after all, located in territory he was mandated to protect. Unless…
“Sir?” he ventured. “This new dungeon, you say it is in the hills east of The Galronde. Isn’t that dwarven territory?”
For a moment, Gauwyn thought he could feel a wave of frustration coming through the communication stone.
“No, it isn’t!” his boss answered. “The Battlehammers belong to the dwarves just as surely as The Galronde belongs to the fae but the space in-between, that is still imperial land. It is uncontested fact. Both parties felt that a good buffer between them was smart but of course, now there’s a dungeon involved, who knows?”
“It is part of why I need you there as soon as possible”, the Grandmaster confessed. “The reports I’ve received place fae at the site already and from what I can tell, they’ve known of it for a while.”
“Understood, sir!” Gauwyn told the man.
There was a slight pause on the line before the Grandmaster took a more measured tone, warning, “You’ll need to be careful, Warden. The reports are strange, to say the least. The Guildmaster in Anham tells me that a rank three party of adventurers suffered a catastrophic wipe on the very first floor. Only three of the nine adventurers made it out alive, two of them with serious wounds. According to the reports coming in, they may have run into a Legion Boss.”
“Sir?” Gauwyn interrupted in disbelief. “A Legion Boss on the first floor?”
The Grandmaster did not call him out on it. The incredulity of the claim made the faux pas understandable. “That is what the reports say, Warden. You’ll be responsible for verifying them. In any case, the Guildmaster is currently restricting all entry to the dungeon until he can get a team of adepts to check it out. You need to be there when that happens. We’ll know then if the initial reports were exaggerated though I doubt that is the case.”
As if compensating for his earlier outburst, Gauwyn was much more polite this time around. “Might I ask why, Grandmaster?”
“There were two parties exploring the dungeon”, the man revealed. “The first suffered a single casualty but managed to return with herbs valued at slightly over four thousand gold. The second confronted the boss and were nearly wiped to a single man. Eighteen adventurers including a rank four adept and only eleven survived. That adept, a guardian, was grievously wounded, so much so that he might not regain use of his dominant arm in the future. Even so, his party came out of it with eight hundred gold in loot not counting a fine grade sword and demonic masterwork longbow.”
Gauwyn nearly choked on his own spit. Some of it must have translated across the communique because the Grandmaster responded with, “Yes! I might have doubted it too if the report did not include that the party included a journey-man dwarven smith who thankfully, survived the dungeon dive. It was he who identified and classified the weapons. The find lends credence to all the other claims. Now, it is just conjecture at this point but the dungeon might be a variant. It is the only way to reconcile the first floor Legion Boss and the masterwork loot. If it is, I cannot emphasise the need to have someone trustworthy at the site. So get going, Warden!”
“I will, sir!” Gauwyn assured him.
“Glad to hear it”, the man said in response. “Now, I’ve got to brief the King on the matter. Hopefully, he will not call an emergency meeting of the Strategic Resources Council. That gives you four days to send me a report of your own. Can you do that, Warden?”
“You better!” the Grandmaster groundout before cutting the line.
Gaywyn watched as his communication stone grew dim. Mentally, he was already charting a course. The Galronde was a hundred kilometres wide and three hundred more away from his current position. He had to get going if he hoped to make it there on time.
I like this chapter. It is very info laden without being too exposition heavy. I’ll try to write more like it.