Ivel, Piknen and Dugar walked down a large hallway, lined on each side by massive stone statues representing various dwarves of times past. The hall of Heroes, as it was called, was located within one of the deepest tunnels of Adgad. While the walls were naturally formed ages ago, the floor was a smooth and polished marble, tended to meticulously on a daily basis.
The hallway finally ended at a large doorway situated between the two legs of a giant, seated representation of a dwarf far more stunning than the many heroes – a representation of the dwarven god, Moradin.
Two stout, heavily armored dwarf guards stood with battleaxes crossed, guarding the door. Dugar walked in front of his companions and spoke, “We come seeking audience with the elder, Lacidin.”
“What be your reason to see the elder?” asked one of the guards, the one who’s helmet had a giant spike pointing straight up.
“We heard of the mission to Tarra. We got some heavy hammers and axes ready to cleave any nasties that need cleaving.” Dugar and his companions held up their respective weapons and smacked them on their shields at that.
“Very well,” said the guard, “you may enter.”
The two guards opened the door to reveal a large chamber that truly bespoke greatness. What was once the room reserved for the king of Claddigen upon his visits to Adgad was open before the three companions. Runes written in the dwarven tongue riddled the walls, accompanied by sculptures, speaking of great battles fought and won in times past. These sculptures were carved of the finest mithral mined within the deepest bowels of the kingdom. Luxurious tapestries depicting dwarven heroes cleaving the heads off of orcs, goblins and giants lined the back wall; before it stood a large throne of solid mithral – the throne of the king of Claddigen.
The room itself was a giant shrine to the dwarf god Moradin, for it was said that faith in him ran strongest in Adgad than in any of the other dwarven cities.
In front of the throne, however, was a simple chair made of stone, in which sat a gray bearded dwarf. Dressed in fine silk clothing colored bright yellow was the clan elder, Lacidin. Out of respect for the kings of old, he refused to sit on the throne. His chair was normally reserved for the King’s advisor upon his visit, and all other times for the High Priest of Moradin; but since the split between the clans, it now acted as the seat of the clan elder.
“Welcome, young ones,” said Lacidin in an old, withered voice, “what brings you here?”
At that, Ivel approached first, with a fist to his chest, “We come in answer to your request for hardy folks for the mission to Tarra.”
Piknen followed suit, with his fist to his chest, approaching the elder as well, “Our axes and hammers be itchin’ ta kill vile things ta aid the clan.”
“Ah…” the elder got up from his chair slowly. Although he appeared as strong as any dwarf with his large frame, his old bones had recently begun to wither with his old age, “it pleases me to see such vigor in the young, but I fear there are already some who have answered this call, and I cannot afford to send more than three of the clan to Tarra on this mission.”
Dugar opened his eyes wide at that, “but Lacidin, we have trained long and hard to serve the clan. Is there any way we could then join those who have already answered. There would be strength in numbers.”
“Ah young Gedoon,” started Lacidin, “your father helped us much in times past. He was a great friend of mine. Now he can’t even recognize me, with his memory gone as it is,” said Lacidin, gazing at the tapestries in the back, as if remembering times long gone. “I can sense the same fire and passion within you that he had about serving this clan. I think I can make this one exception and allow you to accompany the others. I will send a guard to inform them that you three will accompany them. You can meet them at the Old Stone just outside Adgad at highsun. They can explain the details of the mission to you then.”
“Thank you elder,” said Dugar, “we will join these fellows and serve Moradin well in this endeavor.”
With that, Piknen, Dugar and Ivel hit their chests with their fists, bowed, and made their way out.
The door to the throne room closed shut with a dry thud. Inside, Lucadin struggled to sit back in his small stone chair, breathing heavily as his many years weighed upon him.
His mind wandered for a second, lost in the legends written over every corner of the room, and then he began to think about what he had just done.
Stop it, he though to himself. There is no need to think of such things…
He looked back up at the statues of old, forcing his mind to think of better days, when a mysterious figure stepped out of the shadows behind him.
“Good work, Lacidin,” whispered the figure, “your clan might be spared after all.”
Lacidin could only sigh, his head down in shame.