Date: Eleventh of January, year 810 Post Seminal War (810 PSW)
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Job scratched his forehead and sat down on his haunches. “We’re all battered, tired, and hungry. Enra, can you help out with getting everyone cleaned up and such? I don’t know if there are baths or the like but a few Prestidigitation cantrips would go a long way. I’ll take care of the Mending, get everyone's clothes all patched up. Then we can get food, and we’ll work out who sleeps where afterwards.”
There was a round of nods at this.
Enra waved for Sly to follow her, as Index was too preoccupied with scrolls, “come on, the baths are this way. Water will be hot, and I can conjure up some lavender soap.”
“That sounds divine.”
Job reached out his hand to Baar’miin’s ratty cloak, “here, lets get that fixed up, then we’ll go check on the egg-mother and the other urds.”
A few murmured words later and the cloak went from a ratty scrap of cloth to a neat, clean mushroom-fiber cloak with two neat cut-outs for Baar’miin’s wings. They proved to be a pale shade of white with mottled blue spots.
“Can do armor too?”
“If it’s not too badly mauled, then yes.”
Baar’miin pulled the cloak aside to reveal a slightly-battered set of boiled patchwork leather armor. A few moments and words later and it had regained a dull polished shine and visibly fit better.
Job nodded in satisfaction, “let’s go see the egg-mother now. I’ll check with Enra when she gets back, see if we can sneak all of you into the baths.”
Baar’miin led the way to the box and gently tapped on the lid. “<Its safe sisters, it’s me.>” She then slid the lid slowly to one side.
Two blue muzzled heads popped out of the box to stare at Job, followed by battered forms wrapped in tattered rags.
Job sucked air through his teeth, “<I don’t know if a Mending cantrip can fix so much damage, but I can try. We also should be able to scavenge some cloth from my robes if we need to improvise something. But my apologies, Baar’Miin, can you introduce me?>”
Baar’miin nodded, “<Sisters, this is Job of Arseoth. Job, this is Nel’viing and Bii’vrii. Silon’dez’monah, the Egg-Mother, is behind them, wrapped about her egg.>”
“<Peace and health be upon you Nel’viing, Bii’vrii, and Silon’dez’monah. How can I help?>”
“Stand down daughters, lend your heat to my egg. I would see this Job with my own eyes.” A silver-grey kobold stood up in the box, her acid-scared scales burned black in horrific spray patterns, a few scraps of tattered cloth wrapped about her frame. “So you are the one Baar’miin calls Dragon-master. Hrn. You wear the title better than its last owner, rot his black soul.”
“Is there anything I can do to help you Silon’dez’monah?”
“Just cloth, to replace these rags, and perhaps something for the pain of being old.”
“Cloth I can do ma’am, but I’m no healer. I’ll see what I can find for you though.”
Baar’miin scratched the back of her head, “Baar’miin could help with pain, if Egg-mother would let her.”
Silon’dez’monah shook her head, “nothing you or Bahamut can do about being old granddaughter. Go find the cloth, then sit with me and tell me more about this Inoch you work for…”
“Shadow Lord?” the kobold trembled, alone and afraid before its sleeping master.
Grurvum, Black Drake of the Deeps, Shadow Lord of the Islands, opened one baleful grey eye and stared at its trembling minion, “You return empty-clawed. The outcasts escaped?”
“Y-Yes Shadow Lord. Into the dwarf city above. Y-you told us not to go there, not to draw dwarves back here…”
Grurvurm snorted, knocking its minion prone with a blast of cold air, “I did, and you were wise to follow orders. But there is more to your story, yes? I gave you twenty spear-carriers and trapmakers to catch four outcasts.”
The Kobold drew a breath into its skinny chest, emboldened slightly by the compliment, “Yes Shadow Lord. Three surface dwellers and a talking golem. Two of them were spell-casters, and the third and the golem were good at avoiding traps. They gathered up the outcasts and ran for the dwarf city as fast as they could. We chased and harassed them until the dwarf guards started to appear.”
Grurvurm blinked it’s great eye, “so you came to me for more orders?”
The kobold shook its head fiercely, first side to side and then up and down, “Yes and no master. Kobols know you want outcasts and egg back, kobolds know we cannot go into dwarf city, not in large numbers. I thought, perhaps, two or three scouts might be able to sneak in…”
Grurvurm’s eye narrowed in thought, “wise for your race. Send nine of your most cunning. They are to find the egg and bring it back no matter the cost.”
“And if the egg is guarded to tightly for them to take?”
“Then they are to bring back word of where it is, and of all of the defenses.”
“Your word is our will Shadow Lord.”
“You will be the tenth. You are not to come back without the egg. If the egg leaves the city above, contact the gang known as the Sirens. Tell them that I sent you and they will help.”
The great grey eye shut. The kobold scurried backwards on its backside. It had been given a death-mission it knew, and one on the surface under the hated day-star too. But it decided that it was better to die in the light then be slowly crushed and melted alive in the Shadow Lord’s belly.
A bath and some re-sown bedsheets did wonders for the urds. Job had even gotten a look at the egg while it was being rinsed with magically warmed water. It was a funny looking thing, the size of two of his fists or Baar’miin’s head and covered in fine scales the color of tarnished silver. Job didn’t know what species of egg it was, just that it wasn’t a kobold egg and that all of the urds valued it highly.
It was worked out that the urds would sleep with Index while she worked, and that a little bit of work with the empty box would make it both comfortable and reasonably sound and light proof. It wouldn’t be the most comfortable of sleeping arrangements, but it satisfied the urds so it was good enough for Job. The whole party would be going back to Trebor on the morning ferry, so it wasn’t like the sleeping arrangements would last forever.
Job almost had a heart attack when he walked in on Enra falling asleep on Sly’s chest, but Sly just shushed him with a finger to her lips and pulled the blanket a bit higher. Job fell asleep in the corner, back to the wall and pack in lap, wondering about something Silon’dez’monah had mentioned offhand while working on her new clothes.
“All Dragons hoard something, it is part of what it is to be a Dragon. Inoch hoards knowledge, though he appears to understand that trading knowledge will gain him more in the long run. Grurvurn collects beings, calling them minions, for the sake of Hoarding power. What will you Hoard as you grow older?”