Akira watched the land pass by as the fast Sloop-of-war sailed down the river nearing its destination.
Blank has gathered enough resources to complete Branch 2 stage 2!
Branch 2 stage 3 Fermentation start!
Branch 2 stage 2 complete!
Reward: 200 gold, 200 main quest points, +20 fame!
Branch 2 stage 3 Fermentation: Search for an ingredient or experiment on ways to combine and ferment the main ingredient and base ingredient/s together.
Akira re-read the message once again as the sloop slowed down and weighed anchor offshore of the Dwarf city Ribor’s stone docks. Only a few other people had joined him on this trip along with his guards
“Big brother, you just got back to Kodria and yet you immediately dragged me all the way out here…” said a displeased Azura.
“I had no choice since I’m fighting against the fiercest general,” said Akira.
“Who?” asked Azura, looking around but seeing no enemy.
“Nice place… I lie, it’s cold and nothing but snowy rocks,” said Chack, who was bundled in several layers of fur and leather armor to keep warm.
Akira looked at the Ribor city which was embedded into the mountainside and had to agree with Chack, there wasn’t much to look at other than the snow-covered stone-carved buildings.
“You think the Dwarves have a solution for combining and fermenting the minerals and liquids together?” asked Klyn. He had just finished reading through all of the most recent notes that had been given to him by his grandfather.
“If they don’t know, maybe there is something in their library that can point us to the right path,” said Akira as he climbed down a rope ladder into a waiting rowboat.
Fluffball jumped down into Akira’s arms rocking the boat fiercely from his heavy weight even though he was still in his miniature form.
Mileena silently descended the ladder and hopped down next to Akira.
“I still don’t know why I had to come…” said Azura.
“If you wanted to stay behind you could have told us. Your brother thought you would want to get out of the city and enjoy some fresh air,” said Mileena.
“Well… of course, but…” Azura only continued to mumble as she looked back between Mileena and Akira.
When Klyn and his subordinates climbed into the rowboat they headed to the docks. Zundar would have to wait for the next ride along with the other guards.
Upon reaching the bare stone docks they were greeted by a young 60-year-old dwarf. The young dwarf was the only person they could see outside of the stone buildings weathering the winter cold.
“I am Gu’red Meard. Are you Lord Akira?” asked Gu’red.
Gu’red was just as short as all the other Dwarves Akira had met before. His face was rather smooth and boyish compared to the rugged face of older Dwarves. His deep red beard that was braided into two, was also rather short only reaching his upper chest, this was also a good way to judge the age of most male Dwarves.
“I am,” said Akira.
Fluffball was busy sniffing the air, snowy ground, and even Gu’red who stiffened up for a second as Fluffball walked by him.
“The elders sent me out here so that I can lead you to the library,” said Gu’red.
“So they were unable to figure out a solution?” asked Klyn.
“It is a great shame that we do not know enough about that mineral or the type of combination you asked about. The only thing that we can do is show you the recordings from past generations that may be of help. The elders are currently gathering several of the scrolls and books as we speak,” said Gu’red.
“Please lead the way,” said Akira when Zundar and the rest of the guards arrived.
With everyone gathered they headed off into one of the snow-covered stone buildings. It was quite cramped inside the building’s small front entrance and equal small tunnel until they reached one of the smooth main tunnels that were carved into the mountain to allow fast travel for large groups of dwarves.
Using the main tunnel they were able to quickly arrive at a large doomed cavernous room.
In the air, there were hundreds of floating metal balls emitting green light. The metal balls lit up the thousands of rows of bookcases and racks that held ancient scrolls.
The metal balls were also emitting waves of heat to keep the cold and moist air at bay so that it did not affect the books and scrolls.
There were a dozen or so long wooden tables near the entrance of the tunnel that they had just exited out of. Each table was large enough that it could hold 100 or more Dwarf sized people.
Gu’red led them to a nearby table that already had several large chairs replacing the smaller ones.
“The Elders will be with you shortly,” said Gu’red as he stood next to the table. “Some of the books were written in the old tongue so if you need help reading them I can be of assistance for that as well.”
“It’s fine. I am well enough experienced and will be able to read the ancient Dwarvish,” said Klyn.
“Really?” asked Akira.
“Of course,” said Klyn as he pushed his glasses up his nose. “You know reading and learning new things is one of my super-secret special skills.”
“I’m amazed you have time to be learning other languages with all the research you put into the holy chants, cure potion, and the Molten onyx infected,” said Akira.
A short time after arriving at the table, the dwarf elders exited from different parts of the library leading several other dwarves behind them who were all carrying large stacks of books and old scrolls nearly as tall as them.
With a thump! They placed all the books and scrolls onto the table around everyone that had gathered at the table.
One of the dwarfs who was only carrying a large fat scroll that looked brand new, only stared at Akira waiting for instructions.
Akira pointed to Azura who was sitting next to him. The dwarf silently nodded and strained his thick muscles to lift it up onto the table and place it in front of Azura.
“What’s this…?” asked a curious Azura. She unrolled a portion of the large scroll and read the first few lines.
Her head shot up and her eyes narrowed as she looked at Akira with a sharp gaze.
“You only brought me here to do paperwork!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about…” said Akira as he grabbed a book from the pile next to him and turned away from Azura’s accusing gaze.
Azura stared daggers into his back as he ignored her and focused on the text as if it were the most interesting thing he had ever read before.
Time moved on slowly as they worked their way through the many books and scrolls. They made sure to take notes on anything they thought might be helpful for later.
Gu’red and a few other Dwarves came back a few hours later with several pots of warm steaming tea and trays of extremely dry-looking biscuits.
Akira put down the book he had been reading and stretched while letting out a long yawn.
“Thanks,” said Akira quietly enough to not disturb the others.
“We can’t have our guests dying from thirst or hunger,” said Gu’red equally quiet.
Akira looked over to Azura and saw that she had only gotten through a small portion of the paperwork.
Mileena, who was sitting near Akira, had already started to gnaw on one of the hard biscuits, but after getting nowhere with the rock-like biscuit, she threw it back onto a platter.
Klyn was still engrossed in his reading while Zundar was sprawled over the table snoring loudly with a snot bubble expanding and receding every time he breathed. The heavy reading must have knocked him out.
A faint sound caught Akira’s attention for only a moment before disappearing. As he looked around the table everyone was still focused on reading, sleeping, or munching on rock biscuits.
Fluffball’s head raised and his ears perked as he turned to look at a distant tunnel at the far end of the library cave where the sound had come from.
The loud echoing sound of a goat war horn echoed through the entire Library, vibrating the very ground as the sound bounced off the stone walls, ceiling, and floor.
Gu’red who was about to leave… spun around and listened intently to the war horn.
The snot bubble burst and Zundar leaped to his feet. “Come at me! I’m ready for you! Oh…” said Zundar as he looked around and found himself in the library and not on a battlefield.
“What is it?” asked Klyn as he looked up from the book he held.
“Gountain city is under attack!” said Gu’red.