Part 23: Enter: The ArbiterMusic- Chup Mines
The best way to understand a situation like this is to really talk to the people involved, you know, get to know how their lives are and treat both sides with the respect that they deserve. Let's talk to the Duergars first.
Fredegar Murderstone Indeed, I am Fredegar Murderstone and I have murdered many a man and beast in my lifetime. I have done so for many reasons, but namely for coins and rubies. One night I broke into the zoo and murdered the fauna. It seems that even the great apes are susceptible to the blows of my flail. But alas, I have grown old and weak and can no longer murder as I did in my youth.
Fredegar Murderstone All this talk of murdering folks has reminded me of the time I murdered a pygmy in the woods. You see, I was skulking about the woods when I heard the buzzing of bees above me. As I am fond, perhaps even overly fond, of the taste of honey, I began to climb the tree. Imagine my surprise when I found out that a pygmy had already beaten me to the precious honey! Why, I was downright tickled so I gathered up all my gumption and hit him in the liver with a magical war hammer inscribed with arcane runes of power. And hohoho, I never knew a pygmy could fly, but he sure did! Well, until he hit the ground! A little Duergar humor! Ahh, but I haven't murdered a pygmy in years.
Balgord BeardmistAye, these are the Chup Mines, home of the Duergars and recently our genie masters. Curse all genies, big or small. No matter their size or shape, I want to batter them with a spike-laden war hammer ensorcelled with eldritch enchantments… I'm sorry, I got carried away but Duergars are predisposed to violence and ensorcelled weaponry. Regardless, my ebony friend, these genies have taken away our rights and we demand them back. Be warned, if you are part genie, your blood will be spilled.
While passing through an ancillary tunnel, Barkley encounters a grey dwarf in dire straits.
Are you alright? What's the
Zorf Gobletwind D-dunkaroos… I require… Dunkaroos…
What the hell is a dunkaroo?
Barkley quickly turns to Balthios, who givens blank face with a shrug.
C'mon pap pap, don't be such a rube. They're a delicious cookie snack that you dunk in a velvety frosting. Hence the 'dunk' in dunkaroo.
I, uh, knew that, Hoopz. I just didn't remember.
Zorf Gobletwind They've been feeding us nothing… but… v… Vitamin C. I need a… dunk… dunkaroo…
He passed out. This is serious dad. He really needs those dunkaroos.
There are two things a Duergar can't resist, Barkley. One is rubies. The other is a dunkaroo.
This is grave, indeed then. Grave indeed.
The party moves to what could be considered the Duergar recreation area, which consists of one barren bar and an disused mine cart.
Wrothgar Satchelscream one, from how far away did you detect the scent of my arcane concoctions?
Wrothgar SatchelscreamA mere 10 feet? Perhaps my bubbling brews need more eye of newt…
Wrothgar Satchelscream Doesn't the titillating scent make you want to throw all of my precious potions into a burlap satchel and run away, guzzling them as you make your escape? I would sip a potion of any color or transparency so long as it was eldritch.
Wrothgar Satchelscream Ahhh, the smell of my brewskis is overpowering, isn't it, my lad? I may just need to quench my thirst with one of my bewitched tonics, if you catch my drift.
Wrothgar Satchelscream Ah ha hah! That's my boy! That's my boy!
Regardless of choice-
Wrothgar Satchelscream But no matter, my boy. It seems production of my treasured concoctions has been slowed tremendously because of those nefarious genies and I am becoming malnourished. You see, my boy, all I eat or drink is elixirs. If something isn't done soon, well… my brews may bubble no longer. If you were able to do something about it, I may even pass on a few of my precious tinctures to you.
Pelpoc the Dire Ahh, the cool air of a dank cave, littered with gemstones un-mined. Is there truly anything better? Ah, greetings stranger. I did not notice you there, I was simply musing to myself about caves and sewers. My name is Pelpoc the Dire and I am called that because I am a Dire Duergar. We are like normal Duergars but our love of rubies and gemstones is increased tenfold. In addition, we are simply more dire in demeanor. I am an advocate of all caves and sewers. This includes both dank sewers and mysterious sewers. Sadly, it has been many years since I last set foot in a sewer, as the genies have outlawed them. What I wouldn't give to walk in the sewers but once more… I thank my lucky stars that I was fortunate to have been born in the sewers, where I lurked tirelessly for valuable minerals in my youth. Who knows if I'll ever set foot in the sewers again now, thanks to these meddling genies.
Sha'kwan DwarfmaliceHalt! Friend or foe?
The grey dwarf begins to channel his ancient rages and adopts an aggressive stance!
but stops when his dwarven senses realize Barkley is just being a dick.
Sha'kwan DwarfmaliceYou had me going there for a minute, I really thought you were a foe. I suppose since you're not my enemy I can tell you my story… I used to be the strongest Duergar in all the chup mines. Heh, they called me "The Bastard of Muscles" and that's just what I was. I could lift two Duergars over my head at the same time and punch through both friend and foe. But then I went blind. My muscles atrophied and I could do nothing but knit patriotic quilts to keep myself warm. But now that The genies have outlawed all the patriotic quilts I can't even do the one thing I have left. Grysh'tarn (our ghastly Duergar deity) bless this land and people and give me the courage to continue without my patriotic quilts… It's… so cold. If only I had a patriotic quilt…
Now that all the Dwarven data has been mined, Barkley starts looking for the nearest genie. He stumbles across a note left on the ground.
and the right to eat anything but vitamin C.
Muhammed Geniebane, Chief of all Genies Combined"
That certainly is concerning. It looks like a genie might have dropped it. If this is real it implies the existence of a conspiracy that goes beyond the realm of Square-Enix-Goya.
I think we'd better get to the bottom of this and find out what's really going on in the Chup Mines.
Back to genie-talkin'.
Genie from Duergars. Perhaps you could call this racism, but this is one of the main goals of all genies. Lately though, it seems that our efforts to fully dehumanize the Duergars have been impeded by their blasted strike! If you could somehow aid our quest of intolerance I am sure I could give you my Jodhpurs of the Falcon.
Genie are simply a means to an end and that end is precious chups for Square Enix Goya.
Genie Elfs have a long-standing feud and there is no doubt the Duergars would object fiercely. This is precisely why we need to do this. This is merely my own personal philosophy, but I believe we should display our intolerance for Duergars on every level.
With all parties accounted for, Barkley goes to speak to the leaders and put an end to this madness. He walks into a fierce argument between the Duergar chief and genie foreman.
I'm sorry but studies have proven that rubies and gemstones promote laziness in the workplace and minimize efficiency. Square Enix Goya wants to ensure maximum efficiency and quality in the mining of all chups.
That's ridiculous! Rubies and gemstones are the essence of Duergars. A Duergar without a dazzling ruby is like a genie without a lamp.
That… that was uncalled for.
What's going on here!
You're Charles Barkley, aren't you?
Now look, I don't want to get involved in none of this malarkey. I've got nothing to do with magic lamps and gemstones.
Wait, wait, I think we need the input of a third party on this issue, someone who is already an established member of the community.
What are you implying, Chief Bloodguzzle?
That because Charles Barkley is a third party that represents the interests of neither of us, he would be able to more effectively negotiate the terms for our return to work at the Chup Mines.
Look, I said I don't want nothing to do-
Dad, this is your chance to do something really good for the world. You have the chance to make someone's life better.
You've got the chance to give back to the dwarfs after all they've given to you, Barkley.
You've got a chance to serve your country and Square Enix Goya.
Dad… I believe in you. I know deep down you know what's right and what to do.
So will you do it? Will you mediate the Declaration of Duergar Rights?
I have to admit that I… had expected more from you, Charles Barkley. Perhaps if you change your mind you can come back and help later.
Let's speak to the Genie foreman privately.
personal struggle and support the genie cause, I am sure that I could find some way to reward you from my ample genie coffers.
Fine, I'll do it but I want you to know I don't give a damn either way what happens
That is noble of you to agree to help us, Charles Barkley. You are truly a man of character.
I'm no role model…
The format for the Declaration of Duergar Rights is simple: you will be asked a question and you will be presented a number of answers. Choose the answer you most agree with.
Some of the answers will favor one party over the other, while others will be compromises. I'm not asking you to favor us Duergars, Charles Barkley, but please consider each question carefully. Are you ready to write the Declaration of Duergar Rights?
As read as I'll ever be, I guess.
There are 3 outcomes, stray one point to either side and it's considered favoring one party and they see you as supporting them, and you get specific dialogue for it. Let's start with neutral.
They benefit nobody…
Perhaps… perhaps it is better this way. Neither genie nor Duergar holds the upper hand. Perhaps this is true equality, Charles Barkley. Though I struggle to see the wisdom in your decisions, I trust someday I shall.
You've done more to set us back than help us, Charles Barkley. You've made a dangerous enemy today. Don't forget that.
Let's see what everyone thinks.
Although I can't say I'm pleased, Barkley, I do believe that today was a step forward in the Duergars' quest for civil rights. Someday, my friend, we will be able to hoard troves of gemstones as we once did but until that day, we must keep fighting.
I am disappointed that your actions did not benefit the genies as much as they could have. You have set us back dozens,, if not baker's dozens of genie years. Still, the damage done was not as bad as it could have been.
Our prize for neutrality is good feeling we get from coming to a compromise. Now if we favor the Dwarves….
These propositions clearly favor the Duergars…
You've got no choice but to accept the Declaration of Duergar Rights, Mohammed Geniebane. You agreed to the terms and the negotiator.
Drats… I trusted you, Barkley. I thought you were loyal to your country, your family, and Square Enix Goya.
My family? The Duergars are my family now.
Hmph, it seems my trust was misplaced. We have nothing more to speak of, Charles Barkley.
Just once in every Duergar's life is he overtaken by an urge so powerful that he cannot control himself. No, it is not an urge for rubies red, as you may have guessed. It is an urge to create. Yes, we have blacksmiths and wood carvers and what have you create on a daily basis, but this is an urge to create something more than a mere object. This is an urge to create art. This is a sacred part of every Duergar's maturity and when we are touched by this desire to create, all others must allow it to continue unimpeded. It is called the "Awakening of the Artisan." What we create during our Awakening is a work of unparalleled splendor that can never be replicated or surpassed. I want you to have the item I forged in my awakening, Charles Barkley.
It is the Shrekmono, a regular kimono except there is a picture of Shrek on it. I forged it 'twixt the hammer and anvil and it is the one thing I am most proud of, even more than my clan. It is yours, Charles Barkley. Take it.
Got 1 Shrekmono(s)!
Take care of it, Charles Barkley, and know that you are now a friend of Duergars all over the globe and beyond.
Best clothes for either Barkley or Hoopz. Let's see what our good has wrought.
Zorf Gobletwind lightly. Thank you, friend.
Got 1 Mysterious Potion(s)!
It increases VP by 50. Sadly for the Duergars, the treasures of genies are both larger and more bountiful. Now what you may not know is you can still get the mysterious potion if you favor the genies but unban all potions. When you use it, it says 3 left, but in reality it is only a 1 time item. I'm guessing this was a bug.
your proposals, Barkley…
They favor the genies, just as I expected. You've done your country a great service today, Charles Barkley. You've put the welfare of the many over an elite few. You've put the industry and commerce of Square Enix Goya over the gripes about rubies of a few obsidian black, cave-dwelling midgets with a penchant for enchanted maces. I think a reward is in due order.
Got 1 Genie Lamp(s)!
This is a magical lamp rubbed by many aristocrats and sultans. Now you too can rub it, Charles Barkley. When you need assistance, but this lamp and the genie dwelling within will grant a wish… It is a powerful tool, so do not misuse it, as it can only be used once. Go now, Barkley, and know that wherever there's a genie… there's a friend.
The Duergars… what fate has befallen us…?
Get 1 Falcon Jodhpurs (s)!
Best defensive equipment for Balthios, takes all the guilt out of damning a race
to terrible conditions.
Next time, we make a wish and take a trip!