NPC: King Gondric
Coordinates: 254, 277
Gondric Mithrilfist, made king by the dwarves of Seridia, though is not entirely comfortable with the position.
Speak the Words
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*You see a dwarf sitting on a throne. In spite of this dwarf's diminished size, you feel a sense of grandeur in his presence. In his eyes you're able to sense dignity, wisdom, EL-DB.comstrength, and peace in spite of a nearly healed black eye. In a flash of insight, you realize you're in the presence of remarkable royalty. His face lights up as he sees you.*
HelloHi Ho friend. Be welcomed to my home. Sit with me. Have a drink and allow the travel wearies you've accumulated to melt away. While you're here, consider yourself among friends.
Took a wrong turn. Thanks.How fortunate. Perhaps next time it will be because you took a right turn. *You sigh as you sit.* There now. Isn't that better? Yes, I can see it in your eyes. I consider myself fortunate that you have arrived. I am Gondric Mithrilfist. The dwarves of Seridia have made me their king. It is sometimes an uncomfortable honor I carry, being king. *You start to stand so you can bow.* No, don't get up.
There's no need for gestures such as bowing or curtsying when you've only just arrived. I was not always a king and courtly manners are another burden.
All the dwarves?Yes. In all of Mynadar, Nordcarn and other places on Seridia. I am the king of them all. Them and the gnomes. But, my method of rule is not like other kingdoms. When there are troubles serious enough for me to become involved, I visit the source for face-to-face negotiations over a barrel or two of ale. Now I know I have critics who describe my rule as anarchy, but for us it works.
Besides settling disputes, I provide funding for worthy pursuits. My latest project is what Stryker and I were discussing the other night. Unfortunately, the details are a bit foggy. Perhaps Stryker can tell you more. He provides security around here, so he won't be far.
What were you?Like other dwarves, I mined gold. But, all of that is a part of my past - it's who I was then. You might not believe this, but a story teller came through here once. Goodness me, he could spin some fantastic yarns, but he also liked to listen to the stories we share here. I have since heard that the story teller has written down what happened to me.
Perhaps some day you'll find it aEL-DB.comnd remember me when you read it.
Why gnomes?Of all the non-dwarven races of Draia, they are the only ones who don't give me a stiff neck looking up at them. Besides, I like them quite a bit, even though they are chatty at times. They would make great diplomats because people will agree to practically anything just to shut them up. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but it's true.
Shortly after I became king, Morumi led a delegation of gnomes down here to ask me to be their king too. Naturally, I was reluctant and he sensed that. 'Look,' he said. 'We know there are vast differences between our races, so we'd like to allow your decision to rest on the outcome of a little wager.' Besides drinking and carousing, there's nothing a dwarf finds more interesting than a wager.
What funding? Which pursuits?The latest has to do with healthcare for all my subjects, but other projects I've helped fund are rebuilding the wall the pirates bombed, making sure the militia is armed, and my pet project: caring for the veterans of war by making sure the ale keeps flowing.
And now?Now I deal with the horrors of war.
What's it called?The story? I believe the title is 'Peril in Mynadar'. Any good place where stories are accumulated probably has it.
What bet?He bet me that he could out-drink me and entertain me at the same time. Now you know how us dwarves like our ale, mead, and wine? Well Morumi pulled out bottles of some special brew the gnomes make. I think he called it 'oosquai' or some such name like it. It looks and tastes just like brown river water, but boy oh boy does it pack a punch. I downed my first glass and felt it burn all the way down.
Morumi, though, he took a small torch and lit his on fire. On FIRE, I tell you. Then he drank some of it, turned and blew out a great ball of fire into the aEL-DB.comir. My assembly and I all clapped and pounded our fists on the tables. This went on for just a while longer, me drinking a glass and him setting his on fire.
Then I felt it. The room was spinning. My tongue became thick and I had trouble speaking clearly. The next thing I knew, I was waking up and Morumi was telling me I was now king of the gnomes as well as the dwarves. What a party that was.
What's that about healthcare?I'm a bit bleary on all the details, but basically it happened this way. During a party, I forget which one, we were all talking about the ale and my buddies were thanking me for keeping it coming. Anyway, someone was saying how healthy drinking is, I think, and they were drinking rounds to my good health which then turned into a question about why I don't take on the responsibility for all my subjects.
Since I was able to remember that conversation the next afternoon when I woke up with a splitting headache, it got me to thinking. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, so at dinner that night, I made the announcement. Megera seemed to think it was a bad idea, though.
What war?Be at ease, my friend. We are not currently at war. An actual war, you see, is less horrible than you might think. During battle, warriors may see some horrible things: their friends, family, or loved ones slain before their eyes. These moments are fleeting and in the heat of battle, they pass quickly from thought since concentration on survival is more urgent.
It is in times of peace, like now, that the horrors of war appear to those who have done battle and lived.
Who is Megera?She's my cousin. When I became king I appointed her to run the treasury because I trust her with everything. There's not a more trustworthy soul on all of Draia. But, when I announced the healthcare plan, she immediately tried to shoot it down. 'Where's the money for that going to come from, Gondric,' she asked.
So I said the first thing that popped into my head - that we'd increase production in the gold mines. This place has practically been a hotbed ever since. Stryker spoke up and said he'd need a lEL-DB.comarger staff to protect the miners and that he'd need to recruit outside the dwarven and gnomish races. Then he asked if his soldiers could be covered too, even if they weren't a dwarf or gnome.
I was feeling generous so I agreed and told Megera to make it happen. Right then and there she clammed up and when a dwarf woman clams up, there's always going to be trouble down the road.
But your eye.My bruise? It's nothing! It is merely a drinking accident, although the culprit has not yet been found. He was a big human man with the sounds of White Stone in his voice. He tripped and while trying to catch himself, knocked me out cold! Oh! What a party to remember! From what I was told, he ran out of here in a panic.
If you find him, please send him to me so that we may enjoy the mead he tripped over, and if you happen to see Beth Ann, please reassure her that whoever this guy was, he was not an assassin.
What horrors?They may appear to be an affliction of unsettling nightmares that occur night after night, or they may appear to be an affliction of confusion where a sound or a smell or a gesture may suddenly place them back in battle which can be dangerous to those around them when it happens, or they may appear to be an affliction known only as the stares.
Who is Beth Ann?She's a reporter from some Irilion-based newspaper. *He starts laughing.* Oh. I'm sorry, but it's just the funniest thing. From the questions she's been asking me, I think she thinks there's some kind of scandal going on and I'm trying to cover it up with this healthcare idea. Then she point-blank asked me if I'm up for re-election. She really doesn't understand how things work around here.
The stares?Aye. It is one of the worst of the afflictions and the saddest. A warrior during peace time who stares off into a distant place and time to the exclusion of the present is afflicted with this form of the horrors. It can be difficult to overcome.
How do they work?Since I was elected king, I remain king for life or forEL-DB.com as long as the mead holds out, whichever comes first.
What do you do?It varies widely from person to person, but for some a hearty pat on the back, a flagon of ale, and a sympathetic ear go a long way toward helping someone with these afflictions. Unfortunately, the horrors are not limited to those who were in battle. Often the loved ones of those who were in battle suffer as much or worse than the afflicted warrior.
What could be worse?Some warriors know they are no longer the same and simply never go home. Their loved ones may not know for years where to find them. Some warriors who do go home knowing they're no longer the same can become suddenly angry and violent. I send them to the mines. Days on end with dull tools gives them a chance to express their anger on hard, unfeeling stone. That's how this chamber was built.
But, best of all, any warrior or any warrior's family member knows they can always come to me here with their problems. I know what they're experiencing and I know what they and their loved ones are going through. It is in part why I am loved by my people.
How do you know?Who do you think carved this chamber out of hard, unfeeling stone? I know because I have lived through it. In my case, some divine intervention was involved, but I still had to deal with my feelings. Now I help others who are going through the same thing. Those who are on the road to recovery also find that helping others through this ordeal is way to defeat the horrors.
Just the simple fact that they are that not alone, others are feeling the same way, provides a degree of comfort, and for a dwarf, comfort is a gift fit for a king.