Rise of the Runelords

The Whistledown Incident

An Authentic Freemountain Oral History Account

Image"Say ‘twas ’bout a year down outta’ th’Freemountain, I come down by ol’ Whistledown say. Now, at th’time I had me some disposable, so I decided t’invest sound in a small business venture what was sure t’pay dividend. Now by ol’Whistledown now y’see they’re lake side t’Syrantula, what outlets to th’Yondabarki. So me, I set me up’a bait-and-tackle and got me a charter vessel and quick as y’like ’Freemountain’s Worms-n-Such’ was up fer business.

Now, business was slow t’start. And th’guards and what from dockside give me nothin’ but grief. On about permits and what not—but I told ‘em, I told ’em my shop was at th’end’a th’dock out over th’water an’their damned town won’t rightly no lake was it? S’how do I need me a permit t’build out over a lake, eh? Yeah. But what I didn’t know—what I should’a known, was them guards an’ that town . . . they was hidin’ somethin’. Somethin’ sinister. An’sure as y’like it, I tell you them guards was tryin’ t’run me off’a m’own claim, they was tryin’ to keep me findin’ out that secret. But I run ‘em off, trespassin’! But business kept slow.

That was all until th’gnome show’d his wee ugly face. Benjiltink Glimerguld, he was. Local big-game hunter. Th’sprat come into m’shop an’ said t’me, he said he wanted t’charter m’boat an include me on an adventure what would get th’guards off m’back once’n fer all with riches and glory t’boot. Needless I was interested. But I had no idea what it was I was in fer. Y’see, Bejiltink was on th’trail of a great Beast. Slzzik! The Deep Beast’a th’Yondabarki! Dwellin’ there at th’bottom’a Syrantula! A sea serpent, big as! An’ as long as a! An’ ate boats whole, swallowed down t’ruin and blackness!

Me’n Benjil, we packed up m’boat: th’F.M.S. Orka she was! Gods but a beautiful peice’a work she was! An we set sail that very night.

Three days. Three days we was on th’water. Darkness all around. Th’quiet. We passed th’time just listenin’ . . . to th’night . . . to th’water slappin’ against th’Orka’s side. Thwap. Thwap. Listenin’ to our own hears poundin’ . . . Thump. Thump. Knowin’ that beneath us th’Beast lay, and that from beneath ya’ . . . from beneath ya’ it devours.

It was ‘round about midnight th’third night when it happened. Th’strange gnome-song’a Whistledown waverin’ out over the lake . . . all’uv’a sudden, th’line went taunt, th’reel spun out and it was hooked! Slzzik was hooked an’ there we was, Benjil an’ me, grapplin’ and pullin’an’ fightin’ on that line when we seen it crestin’. Up outta’ th’water like a snake from a pot it come, breechin’ up an out’n down down down it run, an arc’a back must’a been a hundred yards long! M’line held, but m’anchor she give way and th’Beast took t’towin’ us across th’lake. Faster n’faster we spun outta’ control—I put Benjil on th’rudder, th’blamed fool! And he’s th’one what damned us and th’whole enterprise! Th’Beast pulled us ‘round that lake on half an hour, me holdin’ it fast, ridin’ it down—wild on glory n’fear’a th’thing! But Benjil, half-sprat he was, broke off th’rudder and we couldn’t fight th’Beastie’s whim. So sure as it knew—an’ it knew what it did—it was possessed a’that dread deep intellect of all thing’s what’s unnantural—it knew where th’dockside was, an’ it heard the singin’ a’th’gnome-song. An’ it was into dockside it drug that boat, full on ramming speed, faster’n she was meant to sail!

We plow’d through Worms-n-Such! We tore through th’docks! Yet the Beast roared forward, jest a shadow beneath th’waves! Th’villagers set t’screamin’ when they seen us comin’ and scream they should! That Beast it flung that line, jack-knife’d that boat up’n th’air and set us screamin’ and wailing right into th’center’a town: boat n’line an’me and Benjil an’ all!

Th’boat, bless ‘er, crashed down market street, took out th’green grocer, an’ I swear, seein’ as th’whole instant was suspended in’a kinda’ metaphorical slow-motion, I seen no fewer’n three citizens wet themselves in pure abject terror!

Miracle a’miracles me an’ Benji, we was unhurt—but th’same could not be said fer market street or what all was there. Now, we was actin’ outta’ the nobility a’our hearts t’rid th’town’a its dark sub-aquatic devil beastie. But we figured th’town’d be less excited t’see its heroes unhurt than they would be upset t’see its green grocer all a’flame. They was already a bit lynchy down by th’way there. So we bid us a hasty retreat. An d’you know that slimey half-scamp cheat’d not reimburse me a copper’a th’cost of losin’ m’boat?! Enemy fer life that’n. Benjiltink Glimerguld. Remember th’name, s’th’name’a a scoundrel, a cheat, n’a gnome I’ll out-hunt any day’a th’week!

So we parted ways, gave th’town th’don’t-look-back. But, t’this day, Slzzik: The Deep Beast, he resides still at th’bottom’a that lake. Th’beast what set the town a’ruin! What swallers ships whole! An’ there it lurks, an’it remembers—that deep intellect, it remembers—there’s but one dwarf ever hooked it. An’ sure’s vengeance burns in m’heart, it burns an inferno in th’belly’a th’Beast!" -M. Fmt

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