I've decided to keep going regardless of the fact that Argonnek is double-dwarfing because I realize this is a community story and I rely on outside input for it to work right. I am still keeping picks to ONE Dwarf per migrant wave though.
The Journal of Vergil
24th Malachite, 258, Mid-Summer
Ludoc came in today, slightly exhausted yet still able to stay on his feet, despite wearing all that armor... I'll never understand how he does it, no matter how much Deler tries to explain to me about optimized design. He wearily informed us about another migrant wave on the outskirts of the region before stumbling back to his room. I decided I would take this one, though Shorna insisted on coming along as well.
"So who do you think it's going to be this time?" Shorna asked as we walked out the main door to the Fortress. I looked at her questioningly, only half-listening to her as I was wondering about the state of our living quarters as well as when we should remove this simple door and use the main drawbridge instead.
"The migrants," she continued. "just curious about the kind of characters we'll meet, that's all."
"Like I have control over who comes and who stays in the middle of a mass exodus." I said with dry sarcasm.
Shorna pouted and nudged me in the side. "You're no fun sometimes, Vergil. You have control over pretty much everything else, don't you?"
"Actually, no, plenty of different things in the Fortress are controlled by different individuals who hold..." I trailed off as Shorna rolled her eyes and sighed. Soon we saw them; similar to most of the other parties of migrants we'd encountered before, it was a small group of seven Dwarves, with obviously mismatched sets of clothing worn ragged by the long journey through the wilderness. They were marching west towards the setting sun, a few animals trudging along beside them, and the whole scene looked somber and quiet. Shorna and I both looked at each other with a slight grin on our faces, knowing we could deliver them good news.
"Hoy!" I called from the top of a small hill to the group below. All activity stopped, and all eyes turned to gaze in amazement, which quickly turned to relief as several members of the group sighed deeply. A few of them broke into tears and dropped to the ground as if they hadn't rested in days, while four others dropped their loads and walked up to meet us. "Please tell me you're not some trick of my eyes," one of the group, a stout, young Dwarf who had the look of a Carpenter said wearily. I grinned widely and clapped the man on the shoulder in friendship. Greetings were exchanged, as well as many handshakes, shoulder-claps and light-hearted jests. The carpenter was Stronghammer; there was also Angel, a young lady who claimed to be a Surgeon of no small talent; Branded, a battered-looking yet beautiful woman wearing a suit of leather armor and carrying a nasty-looking warhammer, encrusted with dried blood. The last was a man who simply called himself Nine, a calm, quiet individual who claimed experience in masonry. We quickly related our story to them about the fall of Gloryfissures and our subsequent journey to this site, which elicited a great deal of interest from them all.
We came to a hill overlooking the Fortress gates. They stared in awe at the massive gatehouse, and the now-complete keep sitting atop it. The drawbridge opened into a large, straight passage that led deep into the hillside. It looked even more beautiful from the outside, I thought with a smile. "You've been busy," Nine remarked with a smirk.
"So... that's our home." Branded said, gesturing towards the mountains.
"That's right," Shorna replied. "one big rehabilitation center for us naughty Dwarves, right, Vergil?"
A nervous titter of laughter floated on the breeze, but I cleared my throat and began. "This is Ravencrown, my friends, haven for all who have escaped the Goblin's wrath. Several groups have preceded you already, all of which are now valuable members of the community, which is steadily growing month by month."
"Oh, yeah," Shorna broke in. "what's the count by now, Vergil? Fifty?"
I paused a moment with a look of annoyance on my face. "Thirty-nine, actually. Forty-six if--"
"You don't even need to ask," Angel said. "we've been walking for weeks trying to find some kind of safe haven away from those damned Goblins. Didn't expect to find a whole castle...fortress out here, especially not a Dwarven one... thought only gobs lived in the Mountains." She paused for a moment, staring at the white-capped peaks in the distance. "But if it truly is a home, and a chance to recover..."
"Not to mention a chance to get back at those damned gobs," Branded said with a vicious smile, slamming a fist into her palm. "if there's even one bastion of resistance left in this world, I'll fight until every last one of them is dead. I'm in."
The four Dwarves returned to the rest of the group to gather up their things and prepare to move in, while we headed back to the Fortress to inform everyone else of the good news.
"So you're still telling me you didn't see that coming?" Shorna said teasingly.
I sighed in exasperation. "Ok, Shorna, I'll bite. so your point is...?"
"You're like the big guy in charge, right? So--"
"Now just a minute," I cut her off. "are you suggesting that because I have an administrative role in this Fortress that I have knowledge of every person in every town and village and would know who's most likely to cut and run, and when?"
"Hmm.... mayyybe?" she said and gave me a look of artfully contrived innocence.