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April 7, 2004

Smitten in the City of Doors

Rosorc's Journal

A strange city indeed, this place of doors. Roofs over our heads and such sights I never could have imagined before. Seems fitting such an amazing thing was to occur. As I searched the horizon I caught sight of what could be an Inn ahead. Letting the group know, we wandered up the street.

Now I have always been a level headed dwarf, more or less, and have kept to myself by nature. Never being close to any family member but my mother, so feelings come difficult to me. Which makes what is going on inside me so trying now.

Standing in front of what we believed to be an Inn I held the door for this wonderful, beautiful being named Theona. Making it more difficult for me is I know that as a plain, average dwarf, that this is probably going to hurt me very bad. Being a Silver Elf, with much grace and beauty, she will more than likely never return what I feel. Nor in rights I guess should I ever hope her to.

Though told by my Mother as a youngster that, “You will know the one. From the depths of your heart, my son, it will be as if the mountains themselves have taken hold. Will give you their knowledge and share their joy.” As a young boy I used to laugh this off, believing my Mother to be a little romantic in thought.

As I grew, left home, and travelled I have still thought such. Places came and went. People passed through my life. Never even a tingle from the mountains. Now I have a chain of mountains landing on my heart, and a head swimming as if I have consumed all of the ale in the Realms. While a wonderful thought not something that will help me in this instance. Did I just say that?

This in itself is making me a little uneasy. I can catch myself glancing in her direction and feel as if I am walking in the clouds or in dwarven terms rolling in gold....

Ughhh! What’s this? This isn’t an inn, it’s a flop house. We really can’t stay here. Heck there is No Ale!!!, food, bath houses, or for that matter privacy. After quick discussion we decide to move on and test our luck somewhere else.

Moving out to the street we head off to look for another Inn. A real Inn. At this point our surroundings’ oddities are starting to affect some of our party members. Deitricha is definitely freaked by there being no up or down here. She keeps whispering back and forth with Tassar who really seems confused by her concerns. Bouncing up and down he seems to be looking everywhere at once. Exuberant over every new wierd thing we happen to pass.

After travelling several blocks a dirty little gnome approaches William and says,”Guvnor may I interest you in an Inn. Just a couple of alleys away.” Taken back by the obvious danger we all convinced William that we would find an Inn on our own.

Growing weary from our searches, we stopped for a moment. Feeling it would take some tension off, Theona, giver of ale and seemingly new center of my world, decided to pass a flask of ale around. Learning the hard way, I realized from now on to get mine before Tassar. For his size he seems to drink a very large share.

Heading back out we decided to change directions again. A very dark and spidery looking building lay ahead. Which usually only means one thing. Avoid at all costs. From the look in Areon and Theona’s eyes they had the same dark thoughts.

Starting out again, we came to a little better part of town. At this point we ran into an amazing sight. A very large zombie was standing in the middle of the intersection with billboards nailed to him. Most of our party skirted the sight, but Theona and I ran up to take a look.

I was amazed at all of the languages she could speak, heck for that matter read. Oh, this is bad. I think I’m blushing. I’ve got to get it together. All right, we’re moving again. Whew! What was that about “help needed”? Oh, well, we aren’t staying here anyways. At least that isn’t the plan...

Travelling for quite some time we passed through a lot of different areas of town. Finally arriving in a good neighborhood with nothing less than a fine Inn. First at the door, I was quick to hold it for Theona. Am I being too obvious? I wish I understood this stuff better! I have to remember to try and talk to Tassar alone sometime about this stuff. He and Deitricha seem pretty happy. Heck they are completely as strange of a pair as we would be. What am I saying a pair.....

Areon generously paid for baths and rooms for us for the night. Each of us took off for our own cleaning rituals. Seems there are more than two sexes here in the City of Doors. Three different bath house rooms were available. Pulling my gear in the male’s bathroom I cleaned everything I owned. Finishing up I dried myself, my armour, and the rest of my belongings. Then I put on my finest traveler’s outfit. Which, under the circumstances, just didn’t seem as fine as I once thought.

Taking the time I took my gear to one of the rooms Areon had rented and stowed it. Areon then brought me my share of the coin we had found a few days earlier. Things in order, I went down stairs for a drink and some food. Soon, I was joined by the rest of the group. Listening to the server, we decided to try one of each meal. That way everyone could try some of each. Luckily for myself, they had hard bread upon my request. A little taste of home!

Having a full belly and several thick and frothies in me to help my swimming head and heart, I excused myself. As I wandered up to the room my head started to buzz again, as if on cue. How am I going to show Theona how I feel? Wishing I had more life experience at at this point, I arrived at my room in time to see William laying down for the evening. Thinking I may ask him some pointed questions about the workings of female elves I opened my mouth to speak..... Only to be greeted by the sound of snoring. My luck. No answers. Just snoring to think by.

Sometime in the night, sleep took me for a time. Waking early I rose and went down to eat some breakfast. Convincing the cook that I really would like some potatoes and onions with my meat, I leaned back in my booth. A plan was formulating in my mind. Being full of second guesses, I was glad when Tassar staggered down to join me.

After several minutes of wild talk from Tassar, I realized that I wouldn’t be needing any advice from him at all. Not that his heart wasn’t in the right place, but we are two different individuals. He wanted to control and protect Deitricha in an odd way, it seemed to me. Where as I was looking for an equal and a partner. I may have misinterpreted the conversation, as confused as my head was, but I still think I will follow my own heart’s advice here.

Having finished eating as a group, we headed out to the market for some shopping.
Quickly splitting off when we arrived, I headed out to attain the items I needed for many things.

First I headed to a Jeweler. A short, squat man with pudgy fingers. He said his name was Kythar. No matter his appearance or manners, which were definitely lacking, his work was exquisite. I required two lengths of fine Mithril chain from him. One of 24” in length and the other 18” length. Both were to match the other in all other ways.

Having this order in, I went about restocking my gear and supplies. I even inquired about a magical bag I had overheard two celestials talking about. Seems these bags hold an amazing amount of stuff without ever growing heavy. Finding a shop with them, I quickly realized the expense was way beyond my means. Though I do now know they are called Bags of Holding, for my effort. I believe one day I will own one of these. They would make an adventurer’s life a whole lot easier.

Getting warm, I took a quick pull from a flask and continued my preparations. Unbeknownst the others, I slipped back to the Inn and talked to the proprietor. I ordered a feast for two. Private booth, candle light, both elven and dwarven ale and spirits, and lots of flowers on the table.

This being done, I bolted back to the market, so as to not arouse the curiosity or worry of the others with a lengthy absence. Upon arrival I picked up the chains Kythar had made for me. The small fortune was worth every last gold. As I said before, his work was exquisite. Borrowing a silver mirror from him I put an elablorate courting braid into my beard with the larger length. There is usually a lot more ceremony with something like this, but I really didn’t have the time. Thanking Kythar with a grateful arm clasp, I turned and took off back into the market.

It was a short time later that I had procurred the paper and ink to write a note, two roses, and a seemingly trustworthy boy for delivery. Still unsure of myself, I had made the note out as a thank you from a friend. Though I wanted to say, no, holler to the heavens, so much more.

Plans in place I casually walked up to the others. Seems everyone was having a reasonably good time. It was good to blow off some steam after our crazy past few days. Hard to believe how recently I had met this group. Now it seems as if we go back a long ways.

“A gift for Lady Theona,” the boy called out as he approached us. “Here my lady,” he continued as he handed her the flowers with the mithril chain wrapped around them. He then passed my note to her. I nearly fainted. She was taken back but thanked the youth. Then quizzically looked at the card. Smelled the flowers and unwrapped the chain.

Seems Deitricha noticed the connection between my chain and this one immediately. I don’t know how to describe the look but it was almost bewildered. I think she had figured me out.

Seeing she was unsure of what to do with her new gift, I approached fair Lady Theona. I gently pulled it from her hands and nimbly wrapped it and one of the flowers into her lovely silvery, soft hair. Noticing myself as if out of a dream, at first I stepped back, not believing I had been so forward. I thanked her for everything and quickly meeked away. Embarrassed for sure. Seems everyone was giving me a slack jawed look of shock.

Shopping done, whispering settled, we headed for the Clerks’ Ward for some info. Along the way I found myself nipping some ale to help calm my nerves. Upon arrival we got a bearaucratic run around for a while. Seems this place is definitley into its paper work.

Areon filed the proper papers, it would seem, at the third office we visited. We paid the five gold coin fee. Then the clerk told us to return tomorrow and we would have our information. Slightly miffed we thanked him and headed out back to the Inn.

Seems I will remember The Alabaster Mermaid as long as I live. Upon our arrival back I approached the Lady Theona and requested her presence for dinner. After what could have been mistaken for confusion or outright fear she stammered she would join me. As we sat, the rest of our troupe (all but Areon who had retired to his room) gathered around as if at a theater. So, I had our server pull the privacy blind.

A few awkward, quiet moments passed, and Theona asked to be excused for a moment. A few moments became a half hour. Feeling saddened I started to eat by myself. Deitricha at this point approached my table and asked if she could speak to me.

She told me that I was going to be rejected. That Dwarves and Elves don’t mix and many other things I didn’t bother to hear. I sort of nodded along. I didn’t bother trying to explain to her that this was the one and only person I had ever or will ever feel this way about. That the mountain had spoken. I had listened. My life’s partner was set.

There would be no other. I had already accepted that upon rejection I would grow old alone. A dwarf’s heart is a deep and puzzling thing. It was not for me to decide now. All I can do is try. Show my best and pray.

When Deitricha had finally walked away my heart nearly skipped a beat. Theona was standing back at the table. She was mumbling some sort of apology. Her hands were cut so I helped clean them up. She then sat back down and nearly drank the table dry. Dwarven spriits...Elven mead... She ate her meal. Conversation was sparse but I could see she was wrestling things over in her own mind. Her eyes sparkled in the candle light, her smile brightened the room, and her presence alone made me feel complete.

Feeling better I drank a few healthy rounds with her. As she started to get talkative, the alcohol finally caught up. My Lady Theona passed out and slid limply under the table. Pushing the table aside, I gently raised her to my shoulder. Carried her upstairs and placed her in the room I had rented for myself. I tucked her into bed. I pressed my hand to my mouth in the form of a kiss. Then gently placed it on her forehead and walked quietly out of the room, making sure the door locked as I left.

Going back downstairs I rented myself another room for the night. Wrote Theona a note, ordered her breakfast in bed, and paid to have flowers placed on the tray when it was delivered. Head spinning, thoroughly exausted both mentally and physically, I then went off and passed out in my new room.

Morning was quick to come. Everyone was up early except for Theona. We all waited outside the Inn for her. Seems she was in the bath and wasn’t in any hurry to come out. Deitricha volunteered to go and retrieve her. After what seemed like a long time they returned together. Both barely giving me more than a quick glance.

Areon for that matter was acting a little quiet around me too. William was talking enough for everyone though. Soon we headed back to the clerk district. All went rather uneventfully. To our disbelief, we received all of the information that we needed. Seems a portal was open today for our trip home. It was below the city and we needed a black rose to open it.

Already knowing where to get flowers, we headed off. As we passed through the Bazaar, I stopped and got a black rose from the shop I was at the day before. We also found a guide to take us to the catacombs while we were there. He was a young man named Bob.

Under Bob’s directions we made quick time to the catacombs. This is where he stopped and said we would be on our own. We thanked him and headed in. Leading the way with the black rose, I was the first to see the shambling forms of zombies lumbering our way.

I tucked the rose in a safe spot, dropped my visor, and charged with my axe. Quickly I had dispatched one and was working on the next. I could hear my comrades fighting behind me. It was a brief fight. Having dropped two foes I breathed a sigh of relief. “Now this is something I am used to”, I thought. Wiping off my weapon, I rejoined the others. Glad to see no one was hurt. Also glad to see that beaming smile I was so quickly growing to adore.....

Posted by Erik at 12:53 | Rosorc’s Journal