Oooo, What's In Here?

This post contains a minor spoiler about the Thorin's Hall faction dungeon. If you'd rather not know, please stop reading now.

Still here? Ok, then I'll continue!

Having spent most of the last week standing ankle deep in mud holding onto Petula's vegetables while she farmed, I decided today to put my foot down, and insist that it was my turn to pick what to do.

And what I wanted to do was gain some standing with the Dwarves of Thorin's Hall.

Not from any particular desire to hang out with those bearded, androgynous weirdoes, you understand, but I've heard they have some nice little toys that they sell to their friends. Yup, you heard that right, the hairy gold-grubbers even charge their friends! I'm sure we Hobbits will be above such materialism, I'll have to go and find out later. We're bound to have much better items, too!

So why aren't I making friends with my own people first? Well, ok, don't tell the others, especially the Elf, but the dwarf standing and resulting toys are just the carrot to get them to come along with me. What I'm really after are lots and lots and lots of Exceptional Hides, to finish my Tailoring, and I've heard reliable rumours that they can be found in the same place.

A little white lie then, a ruse and nothing more, and the other two happily agree to go to Thorin's Hall, and start making new friends... Petula even shows us the fastest way go get there. Bless the girl's greedy little heart!

So we turn up at Thorin's Hall, and clamber up all those steps. Why on Middle Earth a race of people with short legs and a penchant for wearing twice their own bodyweight in metal would also be obsessed with steps I shall never know, but by the time we reach the top I'm panting my lungs out, and practically crawling. It doesn't help any that when I finally clamber back to my feet I see Petula grinning happily down at me over the Elf's shoulder... Cheeky little minx got herself a piggy-back up! Still, I guess I should be proud of her ingenuity. I'll pretend she gets it from me.

I go up and bang on the 'no, we're not overcompensating for anything, why do you ask?' gates, almost deafening myself in the process, and then stroll nonchalantly through them as they're pushed open by two dwarves with their hands over their ears. I try not to think just how they opened the doors without using their hands, as I descend yet more steps into the still-echoing halls. Perhaps they should get a doorbell?

Up and down and up and down even more steps, and I finally find the Dwarf I need to talk to. You can spot him, or her, or it, easily enough, as they're the one holding the large clipboard with 'People We Like' written at the top of a long list. I notice with interest, when I peer at it nosily, that the very first person on the list is another Hobbit. The details of the entry say pretty much everything you need to know about Dwarves...

Bilbo Baggins: + 1 Dragon's Hoard. - 1 Mithril Vest. Current Total : 0

At this point I begin to worry slightly about exactly what they'll want me to do to get them to like me. It's not like there are a lot of Dragon's Hoards left out there these days!

Luckily though, all he seems to want me to do is knock off a bunch of his in-laws. Perhaps Dwarves aren't so unlike the rest of us after all! Mind you, the bit about stealing their flags and bringing them back as proof seems a little morbid.

Still, that's not the main reason I'm going, so hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to slaughter a few thousand dwarves, and more importantly their pet claw thingies, we go!

The Dwarf had given me directions to his in-law's mines, so it wasn't long before I trotted over the threshold. Might have been nice to get a heads-up about the hordes of Goblins camped outside, but they didn't seem to be interested in us, so I guess I can overlook that.

Once inside, the first thing I noticed was just how many people wanted the Dwarves to like them! Some of them were probably after the same goodies that I'd used as bait, but I figured most of them were probably just beard-fetishists.

The second thing I noticed, once I'd got past the throngs at the entrance, is just how fast these Dwarves breed! No sooner had I got my breath back from dispatching a group then more popped up. I started checking carefully that they weren't actually fat earless rabbits!

Note to self: Never, ever, try to skin a Dwarf again! No matter how Exceptional his hide might look.

Unfortunately, despite the rapid breeding cycle, I was still leaving just enough of a gap that the hordes of beard-fetishists behind me were able to move up and leapfrog me, and so I was forced to work my way deeper into the mines to try to find myself a nice private little spot.

The first path I chose turned out to have a few drawbacks, chief amongst these being the ruddy great Cave Troll. Also, the most distinctive characteristic of the path on the other side of that mobile boulder was most definitely its downward tendency. Depth was definitely something it had. There was, undeniably, a certain bottomless chasmness about it.

I've heard stories about just what it is Dwarves go and dig up from these things, and whilst she would no doubt cheerfully give it a go, I'm not entirely sure I have a song jaunty enough to keep up the Elf's morale against a Balrog. No, I think perhaps we should steer clear of those!

So, with cries of 'Awww, Mum, think how great its head would look as a centre-piece in our Hobbit Hole!' trailing from the disappointed Petula, I lead them off in a different direction.

A direction, it turns out, that leads to another giant pair of doors...

Oooo, what's in here?

I decide against knocking this time. Firstly, I'm not sure my ears could take it again, and secondly I'm a lot less certain of the sort of reception we'd find waiting. It's generally considered a bad idea to announce yourself to people who think your head on a pole would make a really neat novelty helmet-rack.

So this time we slowly and carefully ease the doors open, and sneak through on tip-toes. With their usual flare for the over-dramatic, the Dwarves seem to have named this place the Keep. About as pretentious as the last bit being called the Great Hall, but with more of a 'Here Be Treasure' ring to it. Got to be a good sign, surely!

A quick peek over the edge of the ubiquitous steps and I see a Dwarf standing there, singing tunelessly to himself about gold. He seems a little tougher than us, but we've taken out tougher. I point him out to the Elf, and an arrow goes whizzing over my head.

The Dwarf looks up at the new and unexpected addition to his helmet, can't find a note attached, and so comes to discuss the situation in person. The arrow quivers amusingly as he bounds up the steps, but the expression beneath it, what can be seen of it anyway, is serious. Deadly serious.

The Elf cheerfully throws herself at it, and another arrow, this time worryingly head-level, whistles past my ear. One of these days I really must have a word with my daughter about this blind spot she has in regards to things between her and her target. Especially when that thing is me!

Swords rise and fall, arrows fly, all the usual stuff with my companions, but this time I can't help but notice that things aren't going quite as smoothly as usual.

In fact, things don't seem to be going at all!

It is at this time that I notice the sticker on the Dwarf's breastplate...

'Big Balin's Impenetrable Armour - Impervious To Practically Everything!'

Uh oh...

I point out this teensy weensy flaw in our plan to the others, and they start rummaging through their bags to look for other things to use. Nothing seems to work.

Uh oh...

In her typical 'hey, anything's worth a try!' style, Petula throws one of her freshly-farmed onions at him. He catches and eats it.

Great, now we're facing an invulnerable foe with bad breath... perhaps it's time to ditch valour and adopt discretion!

I turn round and go to open the doors we'd just come through.

Nothing happens.

I give them a yank.

Nothing happens.

I brace my feet on one, and heave on the other.

Nothing happens.

Then I look up, and see the inscription carved over the top...

'In The Interest Of Health And Safety, These Doors Will Remain Locked When Combat Is In Progress'

UH OH!!!

By now, the Elf is starting to look a little depressed, and I can't say I blame her! I give her a quick chorus of 'There Was A Young Hobbit From Budgeford', and she cheers up no end. Anything with dirty lyrics and she's giggling like a 'Tweenager!

Unfortunately, the Dwarf was less impressed, and came to request no more requests.

Okay, so, I'm trapped in a room, with a Dwarf our weapons can't hurt, being smothered by onion fumes, and just to top it all off he's a music hater. Sometimes I think the Devs have got it in for me!

But then it hits me! No, not the Dwarf, he's been doing that ever since I got my lute out. Music!

The Dwarf hates music!

Oh, I'm sure he loves songs about gold and mining and high 'ho's, they all do, but he clearly doesn't like real music...

I whip the banjo back out, and give him 'Brown Leather Boots.' He reels back, but only a tiny little bit.

I try again, with 'I Ain't Nothing But A Warg', and he winces again.

Typical, between the thick steel helmet and the dense beard covering his ears, he can hardly hear me... still, it's working!

I keep going, playing every song I can remember... 'Gandalf B Goode', 'Long Tall Galadriel', 'Return To Mordor', even 'Lawdy Miss Arwen'... most of the time he doesn't even hear me, but every now and again I get that satisfying little grimace.

I untune the lute, in the hopes that'll help a bit more, and launch into 'Are You Lonesome Down Here In The Dark.'

I would have played 'Wear My Ring Around Your Neck', but unfortunately that sneaky little sod Frodo has copyrighted it, and sends his wizard mate round to turn anyone else that sings it into a toad.

It's the longest gig I've ever played, but after what seemed forever a rousing rendition of 'Sauron In Disguise' does the trick, and he keels over, unable to take any more. I'm really hoping here that no-one calls for an encore!

I open the gates quick, before he wakes up again, while the Elf rifles through his pockets, and comes out with a fabled Book... ooo, first one of them we've ever found! Shame none of us can use it, bah!

Still, perhaps if we come back, ideally with something these Dwarves aren't invulnerable too!, we might find more...


Back to the Callia and Co main page.

Find out how I play three characters at once.

Read the story Dear Evil Devs, A Thank You!

Read the story Events, and How They Unfold

Read the story Uberocity Killed The Elf... Twice!

Read the story Callia and Co Explore Angmar

Read the story Oooo, What's In Here?

Read the story You Only Had To Remember One Thing!

Read the story Popularity Isn't Everything!

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