The Events of the 24th of Slate, 1061
Dojango was topside, picking through the berries bought from the elves. He was preparing a special meal for tonight and needed something sweet to play off the cow and plump helmet roast simmering in one of his kitchens. Lost in thought, he didn't hear the footsteps crunching through the sand towards his trade depot.
There was a light tap on his shoulder from behind. "Excuse me, sir?"
Dojango started, and turned quickly, his heart pounding. With the recent increase of Dread Camel attacks that have left a carpenter, her baby, and two miners dead, no one was eager to step outside - even into the relative safety of the courtyard. He relaxed some at the sight of Dwarves, but eventually his brows knit together. "I'm... sorry, I don't think I know you all..." he said slowly. "Are you new migrants? Aryn has a First Day Initiation in the mess hall that you should-"
"No, you silly man," came the haughty reply from the woman. She shouldered past the man beside her, causing him to almost drop the half dozen suitcases he was holding precariously. "I'm Duchess Rocksmortal, and this is my-"
Her eyes went wide as Dojango paled. Breathing hard, he reached out to brace himself against the side of the trade depot, knees starting to shake. Glancing at her husband, she took a small step forward, attempting - and failing - to sound reassuring, "My good man, are you alright?"
"Oh no," croaked Dojango. "Not again..."
Before Duchess Rocksmortal could get a reply, Dojango shouldered past her. His berries forgotten he ducked down the stairs, leaving the bewildered Royalty staring at the small dust cloud he had kicked up.
"I want an explanation, NOW," shrieked Duchess Rocksmortal. "This is absolutely ABSURD!"
Aryn finally looked up from the papers on his desk, his upper lip curled into a snarl. With deliberation he set his pen down and straightened the stack in front of him, folding his hands across the top to hide the majority of the words.
"Miss Rocksmortal. I've put up with your ranting for long enough. Here are the facts: Your predecessors the Budseals and the majority of the nobility alongside them met an untimely demise during a construction accident. It was unavoidable.
"The fact that this news has reached the Mountainhomes so soon is ... a testament to the Dwarvish Gossip Mills; the part you most likely didn't reach your ears is that Nobility no longer has a spot in my fortress. You're kind if antiquated, unneeded. We're self sufficient. We trade for wealth alone, not because it's your caravans that give us life.
"If you want to stay here you'll need to become a productive member of society. We need miners. Can you swing a pick?"
Aryn raised his hand as she began to speak, shaking his head. "Just keep in mind. Everyone works. Your rooms are at the beginning of the hallway. They're still full of the Budseal's belongs, do with them what you will. Now leave, I'm busy with work orders."
The nobility stormed out, the door slamming behind them. Aryn stared ahead, growing uncomfortable at the unnoticed third of their trio who had stayed behind. Clearing his throat, he waved dismissively at the door, his voice cracking ever so slightly, "This meeting is over. You may leave now."
"I will, my dear Master Estetar. I just felt it best to introduce myself."
Aryn sighed and slumped farther down in his chair, "Go on, then. Make it quick"
The old man limped forward, his hoary, snaggletoothed smile sending a chill down Aryn's spine. "I'm Bertrand Gorgeinsights, philosopher by trade." His smile widened, rheumy eyes gleaming from under a bush of eyebrows. "But I'm known in some circles as Bertrand the Mad."
"As pleased as I am to meet you, old man, I-" Aryn started.
"I understand. You're so busy these days, young master. You never take a break for yourself. I've already moved my things to that fool Zefondesis's hut you so kindly had constructed at the edge of the cliff. My rooms will be expanded in the future. I need a writing surface, and a place for my books."
With his introduction finished, Bertrand the Mad turned without waiting for a response, leaving Aryn's study. Aryn stared at the door for a long time. Slowly, he lowered his head down into his palms, groaning deeply. "What do I have to do to get some normal Dwarves that will just work without complaint. How is that too much to ask?"
[ May 13, 2008: Message edited by: Heavy Flak ]