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Friday, July 21, 2006

3.1.5.6. Escape From Grad

A hooded and cloaked dwarf comes down the dungeon stairs late at night. He comes no farther as he reaches the bottom end of the stairs, and hides behind a wall. Looks like he already knew the ways in the dungeon very well, that he can enter there easily and in a perfect timing so he won’t get caught. Then he takes out something from the bag hidden in his cloak, and that thing spreads its wings and flies into the warden’s room. Then a strange, eerie music followed by sounds of several people falling asleep are heard. Then that creature lands on one sleeping warden and takes the key chain. The creature flies with the key chain clutched on its feet to the dwarf’s hiding place and gives the key chain to the dwarf.

The dwarf moves in quickly but silently, opens the barred doors and keeps trying to match the keys with the keyholes, one door after another. So far he didn’t get spotted by the dungeon wardens, but as he reaches the last door to the cells, he finds that the door is already opened. He quickly hides again behind the wall, and a shiny, white, winged ball flies from there into the cell rooms. Again the strange music is heard, and also some more people falling on the floor, grunting and yawning and falling asleep.

Robert and the others become alert and ready. Chris says, ‘what the hell is happening?’ And then he talks again, almost shouting. ‘Hey, it’s Chiel! And he’s bringing the keys! Chiel, thank you, you clever boy!’ Chiel responds with a happy ‘chi, chi’ sound at the rare compliment from his co-master.

No time to waste. Robert grabs the keys and starts fitting them into the keyhole. Thank goodness, one of them fits, and as soon as the cell door is open, the four of them rush out from the cell. As Rollo sees the cloaked dwarf coming to them, he recognizes him at once. ‘Ivor!’ he says.

Ivor lowers the hood and answers with, ‘Hi, dad! Let’s run before the guards wake up!’ He puts on the hood again to hide his face and runs forward to guide them through the dungeons to the exit. As they reach outside the dungeons, their presence become so obvious that as some dwarves spot them, they have no choice but to knock them out – and they’re about to attack.

‘STOP!’ Ivor says. ‘Don’t harm them, they’re fellow Vadisians. Look, they bring your weapons!’

‘Vadis be praised!’ Says Rollo in amazement. ‘Bingo, Ello, so you two are palace officials! Let’s run!’

Bingo talks calmly, ‘Just walk calmly. I’m a general, so they will obey me.’ And as they walk to the front castle gate, he continues. ‘Once we were spies sent by the Grand Trow to infiltrate your “church”, but then we became converts because Vadis’ love is strong among you all. We feel loved and appreciated and we did this out of love. Aha, the guards. Stay calm, and hide your weapons.’

The guards salute Bingo. Bingo says ‘Let us pass. The Grand Trow ordered me to execute the prisoners now, sooner than planned.’

‘Oh, of course, sir. Go ahead, sir.’

Bingo and Ello escort them safely outside the citadel, and they part at the entrance to the caves after passing the guards of the citadel.

Bingo says, ‘Well, this is as far as we can escort you, teacher. Farewell and Godspeed.’

Rollo answers, ‘Thanks, Bingo and Ello. Vadis bless you. Farewell, my brothers!’

As they run through the caverns, Ivor talks, ‘Eni and mom found me in my usual hiding place. Then I and Chiel went to rescue you. Mom and sis rallied the fellow believers. Look, here they are, showing us the safe ways.’

They see dwarves on almost every corner, warning and pointing the ways to the exit. Ivor keeps on talking.

‘Now I understand the good of Vadis’ teachings. Brothers and sisters stand for each other in the name of love. Not for money, payment or return of favor. Forgive me, dad, I was the one who stole Chris’ dagger and trusted the Grand Trow too much. He promised me to spare you, so when I heard that you’re about to be executed too, I lost my faith in him and sprang into action.’

Rollo responds, ‘Ah, Vadis forgives you, and I too forgive you. I’m just glad you finally see the light.’

‘Thank you, father. I love you.’

‘I love you too, Ivor, my son.’

They keep running quietly through the caverns, and reach the main entrance. Several Vadisian brothers and sisters stand there, along with Uli and Eni. They also brought Rollo, Robert, Chris and Carolyn’s things and provisions. Rollo hugs Uli and Eni and they break in tears. Sensing that this maybe the last time Rollo meets his family and disciples, and sets foot in Grad, Ylbarra and Falambum Vale, he says farewell and a few words of parting.

‘Ivor, take care of your mother and Eni. I fear this might be the last time I see you all. Brothers and sisters in Vadis, keep standing firm together, spread the word and the love, and let love be y your guide and power. If any of you gets suspected or becomes a fugitive out of this matter, leave Grad immediately and seek refugee with Pope Xylen in Valanis. I’m sure she will help you. Farewell, I hope we will meet again. I love you all. May Vadis watch over you.’

The family let go of Rollo gradually, as though they don’t want Rollo to go. But time is pressing, the soldiers will come to know and catch up with them pretty soon. Without further ado, Rollo, Robert, Chris and Carolyn walk hastily towards the exit. The snow storm has subsided. They have put on their thick coats and they’re good to go. Rollo looks back to his family and fellow Vadisians, thinking ‘From now on, I’ll only be known as Andreas Marvellini. Farewell, Rollo of Grad.’

This time Rollo is banished for good, and the only way he can return is if he can prove that he didn’t steal the mythril greaves. And this means he must hunt down Sheena Mekh’ta and her bandits to the end of the world. They’re the prime suspects and the only key to his return. And Rollo has trustworthy human friends to help him. Their new target: Sheena Mekh’ta.

==oOo==

In the mean time, The Grand Trow Haรคgi Thornhelm stare outside the castle from the window in his room. A thought runs in his mind.

You finally went away, Rollo. Aye, I knew all along about my officers’ conversion and I myself instructed them to guide you safely out of the citadel. I must defend my position from the skeptical clan leaders. So you must go so we all can live. The seed of love that you planted here will bloom and grow in time. I also acknowledged Vadis’ teachings; the power of love is indeed beyond measure. I won’t arrest and prosecute your family and Vadisian believers, as I too have became one, secretly. Go in peace, Rollo, my friend.

The Grand Trow turns to go to his bed, and a thought comes again into his mind.

But retrieving the mythril greaves won’t be as easy as you think. Things will be a lot more complicated. I’ve seen to that.

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