The Music of Darkness

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Chapter nineteen: High Rock

High rock was another enormous cavern about one half the size of Kings rest. A true geographical wonder, for even in the absence of light thick moss and ferns covered every inch of it. Small white and blue flowers grew from the walls and enormous mushrooms sprung from the floor, glowing with an unexplained light. A pond of crystal clear and still water was at its center and all around were floating rocks of varying size, some as small as grains of sand and others as large as boulders.

At the far end of the cavern, not far from the glass like surface of the pond, two stout iron ladders stood on either side of the largest of these mysterious rocks anchoring it down, the top of it was completely flat. On this platform now stood Zorn and Valorn, behind them stood Drell and his company, beside them stood the Council and High Council men. Drell found him self captured by the beauty of the cavern. The longer he looked at it the more it began to remind him of home and how much he missed it.

“Will we ever see it again? Our home? Or will we die here and be robbed of it?” asked Drell quietly, not really expecting an answer. Loroedor reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly. Drell smiled at him and steeled himself when he noticed that the cavern was almost full. Zorn waited till all had settled comfortably before stepping forward and waving for silence.

“Fellow dwarfs my family the Twin Hammers have ruled here for centuries. You put your trust and faith in my ancestors just as you placed it in me. In all these years I have never once led you foul. You have followed me into wars and have been victorious. You have turned to me in times of crisis and come out strong. And just yesterday you all stood beside me as I buried my son. The way things are, without an heir, my family line will die with me, leaving you without a king. None of the other families are strong enough to hold the throne. Their petty squabbles will tear the Kingdom apart once more and I know that none in this cavern wish for that to happen” nodding heads and grunts of agreement filled the cavern, “And so in order to prevent that from happening I have decided to name Valorn as my blood and heir” the cavern erupted with thousands of shouting voices.

“The king’s gone mad!”

“An elf will never sit on a dwarfen throne!”

“Madness!”

“Never!” out of these mad shouts only one held reason.

“What does the Council say to this?” the cavern silenced as Itherron stepped forward.

“The Council and High Council side with the King. What he said was true. He has never once led us foul nor have any of his ancestors before him. What he says of the other families is also true. None of their sons are old enough. Yes it is unorthodox that an elf take a dwarfen throne but what other choice is there? We have all trusted King Zorn before, we see no reason not to do so now” for a long space of time the cavern was silent. Zorn stood steadfast and scanned the faces of his people. Somewhere in the sea of faces one voice finally spoke.

“Hail prince Valorn, future King of the Mountain!” when none answered the lone voice called again and this time was joined by others and then more till the whole cavern echoed with the call. A small tear fell from the dwarf king’s right eye and he did not bother to hide it as he raised his hand for silence again.

“Thank you, thank you all. My people, my friends”

“Hail Zorn King of the Mountain. May his will be done!” replied all in the cavern. To this Zorn smiled and bade them all depart. As High Rock emptied Drell lingered and allowed his gaze to wander the expanse of the cavern.

“Don’t worry Drell. Neroedell will still be there once all this is over I promise” Drell shook his head.

“Don’t make promises you can`t keep brother”

“Who said I can’t keep it?” Loroedor smiled, Drell returned it and the two departed.

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