Now, you may have noticed that I don’t hold a great deal of respect for surface gods. Sure, I don’t hold it against most people that they worship some strange, otherworldly beings that demand fealty in return for power, but the whole thing just strikes me as odd. I place more weight into how we approach it down below, but even then I’m not the most devout dwarf you’ll ever meet. Which is why I suppose I went along with what could only be termed as sacrilege.
You’ve got that confused look again. Why do you have that confused look? What do you mean, I skipped over some stuff? Ah, I guess I did. So, you know these books some mad goddess did something to? Yeah, those Constants. Turns out the last one is one of the most sacred of dwarven texts, the Book of the Dead. It’s ancient, written to keep track of the oldest and most respectable clans. Really, it’s like scripture. And we now knew we either had to steal it to extract whatever that goddess put in it or leave it and hope that the lich either couldn’t figure out what it was or how to get it.
I didn’t put much weight in that though. I mean, we were able to figure out what it was, so chances are he’d be able to do the same. As for getting it? Well, I was pretty sure we could get it, though we might just have to burn a few bridges running off with it. And if we could, then so could he. So we were left trying to steal it so it wouldn’t be stolen, right? Granted, removing whatever this surface goddess put in it just might destroy the tome, but it’s not like it’s irreplaceable. I can name at least three other places in Dunkuldir that would have copies of it in their archives, and that’s just off the top of my head. And as for the book itself, it’s not as if it’s holy. That’s a surface term, really. It’s more like it’s… respectable. Like a really old relic, yeah, but not like it’s imbued with power on the part of us, the dwarves.
I just hope it comes out in one piece though, just so that we can try to return it when this is all said and done.
So, we got into town and, for the most part laid low and started scoping out the Archives. Except Belfran, he decided to go up and start asking to see the dang thing. At least Wyllo gave a fake name when she started asking about it. We found out that, in a few more days, there’d be a performance that would have such a high-class audience that the guards would be focused there that evening more than normal. Belfran went so that he could have an alibi, but was still able to help us through his pet bird, somehow. The rest of us? We went to work.
We slipped into the sewers that we’d scouted ahead of time, then made our way to right under the Archives. Then we tunneled right up and surprised one of the staffers in the Archives toilets. Like, really surprised him. We tied him up though, along with the other two staffers we found, and made our way deeper, finding only clockwork guards that we finished off rather quickly. Granted, they’d probably be a far greater challenge to a normal group, but we’ve been around, seen a thing or two and each of us all have some magical weapon, so we are by no means normal anymore.
At the main vault, we found that they’d really outdone themselves though, with the clockwork guards nearly triple in size and backed by a clockwork dragon, of all things! I’m telling you, if we hadn’t been in such a hurry and the thing wasn’t actively trying to kill us at the time, I’d have just sat and stared in awe at the thing. The craftsmanship! The time and skill that must have gone into making such a contraption, it was astounding! Was, of course being the word I should use. I nearly cried when I took the thing’s head off, but it wasn’t giving us much choice, so down it went. Hopefully crafting a replacement isn’t another lost art, as it nearly breaks my heart thinking about it here and now. It was art, I tell you! Fire-breathing, razor-fanged art!
What? Oh, yes. After that, we grabbed the book and ran like the thieves and vandals that we were.