The Court of Fierhand
Alan’s jet crossed over the snow mountains and began flying over the Normanguard plains. It was odd, returning to his family’s ancestral home. The Wolfrick’s had fled north over a thousand years ago, and since then none had returned to settle anywhere in the north. He was distracted then by a voice coming over the radio.
“Plane 248, please identify your intentions. Over” A deep harsh voice said over the radio. Not wanting to keep the voice on hold, the dwarves would most likely shoot him out of the sky if he delayed in responding. Alan ran back to the cockpit and turned on the speaker.
“This is plane 248, requesting permission to land at Normanguard. Over.” Alan said, he waited, either they would allow him to land, or this flight would be made a whole lot shorter. Thirty seconds went by with nothing. It got to the point where Alan was about to just land the plane and try to make his way to his location illegally. When the voice returned.
“Plane 248, you are cleared for landing. Please await further instructions. Over.” The voice said and then went silent. He put the plane back onto auto pilot and returned to the fuselage. It had been a long time since he had personally returned to the mountain kingdom, and he wondered to himself what kind of reception he would get. He thought though that he hadn’t left on bad terms with Fierhand, the items he had taken had been legally purchased in his eyes. But he knew that many in the mountain did not see it that way, he had bought that piece of armour for Dmitri, but the dwarven custom was that once the buyer was done with one of their items it should return to the maker, not passed on to someone else. He relaxed himself however that if they really held a grudge, then they would have just shot his plane out of the sky the second he had entered their airspace.
As the plane continues on its journey Alan puts his hands in his pockets to keep them warm, whilst the plane was heated, it was still cold. However, after a few moments he felt an object in his pocket. He takes it out and sees that it was a hologram. He thinks for a minute, he didn’t remember putting the item into his pocket at all. Even though it was his jacket, he hadn’t worn it in months, he had simply grabbed it as he rushed out of the medical lab, knowing that it would be cold where he was going. He shrugged however and flicked the device on.
A blue light came out of the device as a large mountain side was revealed to him. It looked vagally familiar to him, and rubbing his head, he remembered seeing it when he was inside the tank. At least he had a location now, although he had absolutely no clue as to who had put the small black device in his pocket.
Two hours later he was landing in the large hanger area inside the mountain, this place made the cave under his own home look frankly pitiful. Normanguard was a huge city built inside the mountain, and this place was like a small airport built inside the rock. Alan got out of the plane after he told the Bot’s to remain inside until he returned. As he descended the steps onto the smooth rock floor, he was greeted by a stern looking dwarf, with a long brown beard but completely bald beside that.
“You will follow me Mr Wolfrick.” Grakgor said and lumbered off towards the exit, with Alan following besides, whilst Normanguard was a promotively dwarven settlement, the ceiling height was tall enough for humans. As they had to be when the mountain men, the native humans in the area, would come for shelter.
As he made his way through the mountain halls, the dwarves that walked past looked up at him, some with confusion and mild interest, others with anger. It was certainly odd, being the tallest creature for miles around. The pair went through a pair of doors and arrived at the large entrance hall that put the rest of the mountain to shame. Twelve massive stone pillars, six on each side of a long wide floor hold up the mountain ceiling. A large stone bridge goes from the main steel gates, forty meters high and two meters thick, to the throne room two hundred meters away. Long rock stairways connect the main floor to the rooms alongside either side of the mountain wall. Below them was even more rooms and caverns that led to the mines that fuelled this kingdoms industry.
The pair reached the doors to the throne room and stop. It was slightly unnerving; Alan knew that he would have to treed very carefully here. As with one misstep he could find himself working down the mines for the rest of his life.
Outside the doors to the throne room, Alan stood there waiting, he guested that he had been waiting for close to half an hour. This was certainly a change for him, normally when he was asked to wait, he would at least be offered a chair. But here in the north, there were no such kindness. You stood or you left, that was the rule, take it or leave. Is what he had been told the first time he had come up here as an arrogant teen. He leaned heavily on the staff, until the doors opened and Grakgor walked out.
“King Fierhand will see you now.” Grakgor said looking up and opening the door for him, Alan nodded and walked into the throne room. “Presenting Alan Ian Wolfrick. To his grace King Fierhand VI of Normanguard, King under the Mountain, Lord of the Dwarves and Mountain Men and Shield of the North.” Grakgor finished and stepped out of the throne room leaving Alan to the king.
Compared to the entrance hall extravagance, the throne room was a much simpler affair, although as big as Wolfrick manor, with two stone balconies that led to other parts of the fortress, looking down at the room below. It wasn’t well decorated, almost spartan in its simplicity. It most simple item however was the throne, a tall stone structure cut into the mountain itself, with steps leading up to a stone chair, where King Fierhand sat looking down at the room at large.
Fierhand, was clearly the oldest creature in the room, he had long silver beard, rapidly going white and equally long beard who was looking at Alan with calm amber eyes.
“Ah Mr…” Fierhand said scratching his head before remembering. “Wolfrick. Yes. Why are you here, my young imperial?” Fierhand said. this did make Alan smile slightly, whilst he didn’t feel young, what with all the stress’s that he had. He was now reminded what real age was. Fierhand was well over one hundred and twenty years old.
“To seek permission to travel in your lands.” Alan said, his voice echoing around the largely empty room, a few of the dwarves began to mutter but Fierhand raised his hand for silence, which was granted almost at once.
“Your request is granted.” Fierhand said and by the sounds his advisors made, it was clear that he would be hearing about this later. The king however leant forward and continued looking down at Alan with more interest. “But you didn’t answer my question. Why are you here?” Fierhand asked, his amber eyes appearing to x-ray Alan where he stood.
Alan paused, he wasn’t sure how much he wanted to tell this dwarf, whilst they knew each other and clearly still maintained a good relationship. The king was effectively a stranger in this regard.
“I’m here to locate something.” Alan said taking out a small device and switching it on, a hologram appeared of a large mountain face. Fierhand eyes narrowed at this. The old dwarf got up of his throne and walked down the steps, quite quickly as well considering his age.
“I do not know this place. Are you sure that it is in my kingdom?” Fierhand said looking up at Alan.
“My intel says it is on the north side of the snow mountains.” Alan replied.
“And how reliable is your intel?” Fierhand asked. This was the tricky part; his intel was in fact his long dead brother. But he couldn’t tell the old dwarf that. For that would make him sound completely insane and put him down in the mines for good.
“Reasonable.” Alan said settling on a half-truth. He had after all no reason to doubt his older brother, but to say it was iron clad would just be a complete lie. Fierhand only nodded, thankfully for Alan’s sake choosing not to press the issue. As the king got back into his uncomfortable throne, he took his leave and began walking out. Until Fierhand called him back.
“One more thing Mr Wolfrick. How is your son doing?” Fierhand said, leaning forward once again.
“What do you mean?” Alan asked.
“Having lost an eye at such a young age, must be such a terrible thing.” Fierhand said, sounding concerned for the first time. “We are alike in this regard. We both have sons who have lost an eye.” Fierhand finished, a glint in the old dwarf’s eyes.
“Good.” Alan replied, hoping that subject would not come up again. There were many things he would be willing to talk about with the dwarf, but his eldest son’s mutilation was not one of them.
“Very well. You may go.” Fierhand said simply and Alan bowed and limped out of the throne room as fast as he could. There was something about the old dwarf that gave him the creeps, the fact that he knew so much about his family’s life was slightly unnerving. But he decided to push that thought to the back of his mind and made for the hanger area, now with permission to go out and seek the answer’s he desperately craved.
Alan walked into the hanger bay, where his plane was still waiting, a stern looking dwarf approached him as he walked up, he wanted to just get ging, but curiosity stopped him in his tracks.
“We have refuelled your plane whilst you were visiting his grace, imperial.” The dwarf said gruffly, almost as if the job had been a terrible undertaking for him.
“Erm. Thanks.” Alan said, he had not requested for the jet to be refuelled, but he appreciated it all the same.
“When will you be returning to us?” The dwarf responded.
“I won’t be.” Alan said, he paused. He had no idea why he had just said that, but he knew deep down. That it was the truth. He would never see the halls of the great mountain kingdom again. What that meant for his future he wasn’t sure. But the fact that he would never return he knew to be true, somehow at least.
“Well then. Travel safe imperial.” The dwarf said looking just as confused by Alan’s latest statement as the man himself felt about it.
Alan shuddered slightly as he looked around the room for the last time, then got into the plane and headed back down south towards his new location.