Part 26: Jazzimus Prime: Prologue 2
Syrupleaf - Chapter V Prologue Part 2
Before long, Pumpinglemma and I are deep in the jungle, out of range of the guards of Talllabored. I don't think I really know how to get back from here, anyway. I should have studied the maps of our great Talllabored cartographers better. I am at the mercy of this strange dwarf who has effectively kidnapped me.
"So tell me about this place we're going, and why it's so important," I say.
"Syrupleaf is a promising new Dwarven colony just south of here, in need of a leader of your caliber," Pumpinglemma says.
"Hmmm. So why does it need an established leader so urgently? Back at Talllabored, we have many knowledgeable and powerful dwarves, and nearly limitless resources, including adamantine. Couldn't we go back there so that we can bring some of these things where they are so needed?" I ask. I go on to describe our recent discoveries and new technologies, which have not yet been shared with any other towns except for our nearest dwarven neighbors.
"Uh... um... well, uh... I think it's best at this point that we not go back to Talllabored," he says.
"Why is this so urgent?" I ask.
"Well... have you heard the story of Headshoots and Holistic Detective?"
I had not.
I listen in ever-growing horror as he relates the tale.
I wish I had brought some adamantine with me.
Several days later, the heat begins to become unbearable. "I hate this heat," I tell Pumpinglemma. "How much longer is it?"
"It's... uh, still a ways south of here," he says.
I wonder how bad the heat will be at this Syrupleaf place.
After a few weeks of travel, the heat and humidity were nearly too much for me. But Pumpinglemma convinced me to persevere, against my better judgment.
A few days later, the heat was not quite as bad as it had been.
"Are we there yet?" I asked Pumpinglemma.
"We're... uh, getting closer. It's still a little ways south of here," he said.
Getting closer. That doesn't tell me much.
Finally, we arrive at a large dwarven fortress in a hillside in the jungle.
"So, this is Syrupleaf, is it?" I asked.
"Er... no, actually, this is Clapcraft. Syrupleaf is, well... still a ways south of here. We'll be meeting up with the rest of the caravan here, and loading up with supplies for the rest of the journey."
Damn. How long was this journey going to take?
At least for that night, I'm able to sleep on a comfortable wooden bed for the first time in almost a month. The next morning, I walk down the stairs to the main room of the inn. Pumpinglemma is already waiting there with a group of unfamiliar dwarves. Introductions are made all around.
Pumpinglemma, the pump operator.
Tehsid, the weaver.
Kallisti, the peasant.
Draceran, the woodworker.
Globofglob, the siege operator.
Tinny Turtler, the carpenter.
Syntax, the wrester.
Green Intern, the metalcrafter.
OutOfPrint, the peasant.
Recursive, the peasant.
Alius, the trapper.
Male Man, the glassmaker.
TowerofOil, the crossbow maker.
Whitecloak, the fishery worker.
Smuggins, the fishery worker.
Bobbin Threadbare, the jeweler.
Manuel Calavera, the bone carver.
In addition, there is one exceptional dwarf who seems to carry himself with an air of nobility. He introduces himself as Phrederick, the Dungeon Master, and explains that he has gathered this ragged band of migrants to make their way to Syrupleaf, and is now willing to follow my lead.
I take Phrederick aside and ask if he would be willing to lead the fortress, in the event that I should change my mind about commanding a what will almost certanly prove to be a dubious bolthole far from my home. He nods grimly.
We enjoy a homecooked meal for what may prove to be the last time in a while, and our fellowship of nineteen dwarves journeys onward.