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Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

You arrive at the Azure Lion in the small mining village of Colston, stable your horses, and go into the public room for a well-deserved pint of ale. It is early evening and the night is drawing in. A large group of dwarves are propping up the bar, getting extremely drunk.
"I couldn't care less for the McCains" said one, "but we are here to break the strike, and as dwarf on dwarf, I say that that is wrong".
"Yes, but where's the silver penny coming from, for that ale that is in your hand?" says another, "You follows your clan chief, not the longshanks (non-dwarf) who is trying to break this strike. Sure, Percival and Grimley and no two ways about it, as dwarf for dwarf, right or wrong, I'm for Grimley McCain. But when it's my own clan against the McCains, well screw those McCains."
They continue in this vein, arguing over their pints.
A young human serving wench takes your order. Pinned to the side of the bar, you see this notice.

"Investigators required"
"His Lordship requires a competent person or persons to investigate the disappearance of Fr Michael Akas, of the Percival household, who was last seen descending the shaft of Colston colliery in an attempt to negotiate a settlement to the recent trade dispute. Anyone with any information as to Fr Akas' whereabouts is urged to contact Lord Percival as soon as possible. Rewards possible. Lord Percival may be contacted at the presbytry of the Church of St Barbara."

The bar is quite full of what appear to be normal village people - farmers and farriers and thatchers and tanners, as well as a couple of off duty guards in azure and yellow - you guess Lord Percival's livery. The hub of conversation is drowned out again by quarrelling dwarves.

"Well we'll be damned if we go down that pit, damned if we don't. But I won't mine no coal, no way will we Dunstans do it ... "
Auren Corve V2 (played by darkborn202)

Auren requests watered down ale. No need to get drunk, when it seems like he is going to get a new job. Based on all the evidence, there was a problem in the mines of this town. He quietly examines the two dwarves arguing. In the end, he decided that even though he would love to end their argument, it wasn't worth it getting noticed. No need to draw hostile attention to himself- which was a given, due to his heritage.

Auren reminisces on how exactly he came to be in this town...
In the previous town before, the people were starting to become fearful of him. An unsurprising outcome. After all, people always come to fear Dhampirs, whether it be natural or unnatural. After getting the payment for his last hunt, he decided that the hostility was too much at this point. So, he took another job, where the payment ended in another town. Another hunt. He spent a couple of weeks hunting down this creature, and another week heading to the town. This town was the town of Colston.

After receiving his pay, Auren decided that it wouldn't hurt to stay the night at this town. After all, it was late, and, ranger or not, he still appreciated a bed when he had the option. So that's how he ended up in this tavern.

When the dwarves arguing became loud, and to be considered by some, treasonous, Auren tensed. A fight was coming, he was certain of it.
Galiena Reyns (played by Juls)

Galiena was brooding over her pint of honeybrew ale, contemplating her recent failure to track down a stolen divine healing artifact Dravis had sent her in search of. Each avenue she had thus far attempted was a dead end. And now she was out of leads, procrastinating on the inevitable trek back to the temple in Ashdown to inform the cleric order of her failures.

Colston was along the way and a good place to rest for the night. Besides, she owed Michael a visit and figured she'd go see him in the morning before continuing back to Ashdown. She'd met him two years ago when she was just beginning her training as a cleric and considered him somewhat of a mentor. Maybe she'd even ask if he'd heard anything about the artifact in question.

Lost her own thoughts, Galiena was barely paying attention to the argument at the bar, but ignoring it was getting more difficult to do as the dwarves got louder and their drunken voices were carrying across the whole Azure Lion.

Maybe I'll just retire early, she thought. She stood up to head to the bar to pay her tab when she saw the notice pinned there. She scanned it casually, simply as something to look at while she waited for the bar wench to return from refilling some mugs, but her eyes widened. "He's missing!?" she said aloud. "How long ago was this?" she asked the bar maid rather urgently when the girl returned, pointing at the notice.
Scott Williams (played by Snowratt)

Scott arrived at the Azure Lion for no real reason in particular, he had been traveling and Colston happened to be in his way. He drank his ale while watching the people in the tavern as the went about their business, looking if any of them in particular looked interesting. Sadly the bar was mostly full of normal village people and off duty guards. Yet thankful a group of dwarves started to argue which he found amusing to watch.

After watching the arguing dwarves for a few moments Scott was sure of one thing while he didn't full grasp the situation he wanted to be involved. Now's a good a time to join as any, he thought as he finished up his drink and made his way over. "What are you all talking about? I'd love to give my, very unique, one of a kind, opinion." Scott said to the large group of dwarves.
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"Who is that shifty-looking longshanks?" says one of the dwarves, thinking you can't hear him and looking at Auren.
"Leave him alone" says the other.
"Well I don't like the look of him, looks like there's elf blood in him to me".
"Well we're hardly going to beat him up in full view of the militia. Now as I was saying, Grimley, he was a selfish bastard. What did us Dunstans ever get from clan McCain? As soon as the chief gives the order, I'm going down that pit".
"You're not showing solidarity to your fellow dwarf"

Meanwhile Galiena is at the bar talking to the bar wench.
"Fr Michael? he only came in once, but he was a lovely man. It's been two days since he went down the mine. So something must have happened to him, but what? Grimley, that's the leader of the McCain dwarves that run the pit, he's greedy, but I wouldn't say there's any harm in him. He wouldn't kill a man. And if he did, Lord Percival would stretch his neck for it, so why would he do that? I dunno, love ..."

Scott approaches the group of dwarves. The bar wench rolls her eyes. "Oh my God," she says.
"What are you all talking about? I'd love to give my, very unique, one of a kind, opinion" says Scott.
The dwarves cease their conversation and stare at him. The villagers sense that something is happening, and there is a moment's silence, and all eyes are on Scott ...
Galiena Reyns (played by Juls)

"Do you think Lord Percival might be at the church at this late hour?" Galiena asked, resolving immediately to herself to look into what might have become of her friend. She had half a mind to go find a torch and head down the mine shaft this very minute, but chided herself for her impatience. Still, the thought of just going to bed and waiting until morning seemed impossible now.

The cleric noticed suddenly that the noise from a few moments prior seemed to have died away rather quickly and turned to see the dwarves staring down a blonde man who looked about her age. She took a few steps backwards, hoping to get out of range in case fists or chairs started flying.
Scott Williams (played by Snowratt)

Scott took note that all eyes where on him yet couldn't understand why, he hadn't done anything wrong yet. As backing down now would be boring and uninteresting he decided to double down and commit. "I'll take your silence as a yes you would like to hear me opinion," Scott said with a polite smile before taking a moment to grab an empty chair and take a seat at the dwarves table, "Now, what are you all talking about?" Scott said restating his question.
Auren Corve V2 (played by darkborn202)

Auren was exasperated. This man was going to get himself killed! Dwarves were notoriously silent mouthed when they chose to be. And very much willing to brawl. Especially drunk dwarves.

Auren quietly pushed his chair back, and made his way so that he was at the edge of the little gathering, yet close to that unfortunate man. Exasperating as he was, Auren still felt pity for him.
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"Lord Percival stays in the presbytery, in the rooms intended for the bishop, when he comes on his visits. I don't know if he'll still be up at this time of night, but you could always try." says the wench.

"Now what is we all taking about?" says a dwarf, "Nothing for a longshanks to hear ".
"No", says another, "let the gentleman give his opinion".
"See that fire burning in the hearth?" says the first dwarf, "coal. See that pewter tankard in your hand? That was forged with coal. There's nothing more vital to this duchy than coal. And when the coal stops coming out of the mine, this town comes to a stop. That's why we Dunstans have been called in, to keep the coal business ticking over, even if the McCains won't mine it no more. But you ask any dwarf, and the worst thing you can mine is coal. The dust, and the dirt, and the risk of bloody firedamp - such as what causes explosions - terrible. So when diamonds is discovered, every dwarf wants to mine that. Now Grimley McCain, the chief of the McCains, I will say even as a dwarf to a non-dwarf, is a greedy sod. He's gone on strike to get more money for his diamonds. Now what he should have done is said, 'I'll still do the coal for you, but we'll hold off on a price for the diamonds' That would have been a better negotiating position. Lord Percival, he's panicking that he's getting no coal. So we is asked to come, all the way fro the mountains, to take over this mine."
"Now in your considered opinion, mister, is the dwarf obliged to mine coal so the longshanks can have a cosy fire?"

He points a finger at Scott, who bends back slightly in his chair.
Scott Williams (played by Snowratt)

Scott took a moment to consider before answering the dwarf and came to the conclusion that this was a serious matter and being as clueless as he was he shouldn't speak on it, yet he would simple because he could. "Are dwarves obliged to mine coal? No. I don't believe anyone is obliged to do anything for anyone, unless they themselves want to. Keep in mind I'm a traveler so I can have such a mentality as nobody is relying on me to do anything. Dwarves on the other hand have an entire duchy relying on them cause like you said, There's nothing more vital to this duchy than coal. So are dwarves obliged to mine coal? Yes."
Galiena Reyns (played by Juls)

"Thank you," Galiena said to the bar maid, then watched the scene between the dwarves and the blonde man for another few moments before heading toward the door of the Azure Lion.

She stepped outside and took a deep breath as she headed for the Church of St Barbara. Had the dwarves murdered Michael? She shook her head, trying not to automatically assume her friend was dead, but what other explanation could there be for him not coming back up out of the mine? But of course, if it had been two days, Lord Percival would certainly have questioned the dwarves already, right? Which dwarves though? She wished she'd been paying better attention to their earlier arguments. From what little she'd gathered, there were at least 2 separate clans of dwarves involved in the dispute, possibly more.

She headed up the stairs of the church and pushed open the door, hoping to find someone inside who could direct her to Lord Percival.
Auren Corve V2 (played by darkborn202)

Auren notices a woman leaving the tavern, but he pays her no mind as of now. The man in the middle of angering the dwarves is the main problem.

Leaving his hood up, he stepped forward, and quietly says to all parties in the tavern, "Coal is necessary for your livelihood, dwarves. After all, no coal means no fire, as you are implying. No fire means no forge working. No forge working means no equipment- including dwarven equipment- to sell and make a profit out of. You are not only depriving the coal industry, but also industries that rely on coal. That will force this land into economic depression, which will then prevent you from feeding your families. Do you wish that?"

Thank the High Spirit that he listened to his father's lectures about economics. He was also glad that he stayed silent and listened to the dwarves' argument, reasoning, and presentation.
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

Galiena leaves the bar. She goes to the church of St Barbara, which is nearby. It's a typical parish church, stone build, with a bell tower, and a rood screen shielding the sanctuary from the nave. There aren't any pews, just benches attached to the walls for weaker congregants. The floor is stone tiles scattered with rushes. The door is open, but no-one is there.

She realises that everyone must be in the presbytery next door. It's all lit up with candlelight, as though a large number of people are inside. She knocks on the door, which is opened by a servant in azure and gold livery. "What you be looking for?" he asks. At that moment, there is the sound of commotion from the inn you have just left.

"The half-elf has it right" says one dwarf, "if we don't go down that mine, where will we get money from to pay us pints of ales? We'd better do as our chief says, we've no choice".

"Obliged" says the first dwarf, tapping at Scott with his finger, "this gentlemen's considered opinion is that we dwarves are obliged to get coal. Well listen" he says "I'll tell thee" and he taps again, "we aren't obliged no more. We aren't going down that pit, we ain't mining no coal" then instead of a tap, he gives a punch .

There's a roar, and all the dwarves are on their feet forming a semi-circle around Scott and the belligerent dwarf. "Clan Dunstan, clan Dunstan" they chant.

(Roll to hit Scott with a punch attack, please calculate THAC0)

"Now what is going on back there?" asks the servant of Galiena.

rolled 1d20 and got a natural 4. After the modifier of +1, got 5
to hit

Galiena Reyns (played by Juls)

"I'm looking for Lord Percial... about Fr Michael," Galiena stated quickly, even as she followed his gaze back toward the Azure Lion.

She shook her in exasperation as the chants of "Clan Dunstan" could be vaguely heard even from here. "Some fool of a man inserting himself into an argument the dwarves were having. Seems it's getting heated."

She returns her gaze to the servant. "My name is Galiena Reyns. I'm a friend of Fr Michaels."
Scott Williams (played by Snowratt)

Scott hadn't expected his answer to rile up to the point of a fight, as the dwarf pubched him he attempt to get out of the way. As the dwarves formed a semi-circle around him Scott began to think of a way out as this clealy wasn't a fight he could win. "Now let's be civil about this. Wouldn't want to ruin the bar."
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

<OOC> I'm trying to do one post per day in the evening, British time. So about 2.00 forum time. </OOC>

Galiena hears further sounds of commotion from the pub. Two men at arms, armed with halberds, rush out of the doorway of the presbytery.
"I'm very sorry, " says the servant, "but I believe Lord Percival is engaged. But perhaps you would like to see Lady Percival? Is it a matter she could help with?"

Meanwhile, in the Azure Lion, the dwarves have formed a semi-circle, making a crude half ring for what is emerging as a single combat between Scott and the belligerent dwarf. They jeer Scott "coward now, aren't you", as Scott dodges the first, drunken and inaccurate punch.

However some of the villagers start to intervene. "We've had about enough of stupid, aggressive dwarves ruining our local" says a big burly farmer, "Listen to this man, you dwarves" he says, pointing to Auren, "He's talking good sense".

The belligerent dwarf isn't deterred, and tries another punch. [Die roll]

rolled 1d20 and got 16
to hit

Galiena Reyns (played by Juls)

She was at first surprised that the armed guards were sent so quickly for a bar fight. But then again, she reasoned, if there was suspicion of murder, tensions were sure to be running a little high. Couple that with the strike and just maybe those tensions were actually closer to a boiling point. Things could get out of hand quickly.

"Yes please," she answered to the servant.
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

The sounds of fighting continue from the bar.

The servant leads you into a drawing room. "The cleric Galiena for you, my Lady".
Lady Percival is sitting on a couch by a coal fire. There's another woman, with very slender features, maybe a half-elf, you can't really tell. The other woman is dressed in black widow's clothing, with a cowl that hides her ears, which would give away her race.
Galiena curtseys.
"Good evening, sister," says Lady Percival. "Please take a seat. We're so glad to have you with us. Was it a difficult journey to Colston? I hope you don't mind if my advisor is present. Galiena, this is Malfey. Now how may we help you?"
Galiena Reyns (played by Juls)

"Was it a difficult journey to Colston?"

At the Lady's question, Galiena was suddenly aware that she was still wearing her traveling clothes and probably smelled strongly of horse. She'd been too preoccupied with the matter at hand to give it any thought until just this moment.

"Thank you, Lady Percival," she stated, taking the indicated seat and nodding politely to Malfey. "The journey was uneventful." She hesitated only a moment, then decided a direct approach was best. "But I learned only upon arriving just a short while ago of Fr Michael's disappearance and I wish to aid in the investigation any way I can."
Dwarf Mine GM (played by Malcolm)

"You look like you've had a hard ride" she said, "taverns are such brutal places. I would invite you to stay with us, but the house isn't ours. It's the presbytery, and we're staying in the bishop's rooms whilst Lord Percival sorts out an end to the strike. Oh, you probably don't know. You see the local dwarves have gone on strike. It was the most absurd thing. Here have some scones and wine, they are cranberry, Malfey particularly recommends them, she's my advisor you know. I do think it's so important to eat healthy food, don't you agree?"
A servant comes with a silver tray of scones, stuffed with cranberries.
"So as I was saying, our dwarves are led by Grimely McCain and his second in command, Ursa Scarface. They mine coal, but a seam of diamonds was found. So naturally we told them they could mine the diamonds as a by-product, as long as the production of cola was maintained, to which Grimely agreed. We also agreed to split the money from the sale of the diamonds half each way. But as it turns out, the diamonds are unlucky. So we couldn't sell them, so we told the Grimely that we wouldn't accept diamonds any longer. He got upset and called a strike. Now the dwarves have hollowed out living quarters for themselves in the mine - they prefer living underground, we're not exploiting them as some people will tell you - and they just didn't come out. They're always calling strikes, you understand, but most of them are solved within the day. After about two weeks, Lord Percival decided he had to come here to Colston to sort the matter out himself, and we sent dear Fr Michael - he's our chaplain - to try to negotiate a settlement. That was two days ago, he hasn't been back. We are so worried and we don't know what to do ."

She clasps her hands in anxiety.

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