To: Investigator Geo Friinok, Gem Choppers
From: Freelance Investigator Okosar
Re: First Report on Steamfront happenings.
An Eccentric Brownie
In doing some legwork to uncover the information you requested about Meldrath’s activities, I came across a rather eccentric Brownie. Normally, I avoid their type after some nasty run-ins with their Lesser Faydark brethren, but this little fellow seemed rather lost. He was looking off into space. Then, he suddenly turned to me and my patience was rewarded.
“Hey! Okosar! Wait for me! Have you heard about what Meldrath is up to? It’s terrible. . .”
Perhaps he had some information that would be valuable to your investigation. Just as quickly, though, he shook his whole body suddenly and said, ‘How’s the weather up there?” I had never been asked that, before. Then he cocked his head, “Good, I hope, because the end is near! Run for your life!”
I tried to engage him in conversation, but he did not respond. I asked him about Meldrath. I asked him about the end. This was not going to be an easy interview.
“Did I tell you about the smell? It’s horrible! All soot and grease with a tint of rust, or maybe blood, I could never tell. I’ll never forget that smell.”
I asked him about the smell, the grease, the rust and blood. The Brownie simply said, ‘If he catches you, you’ll be sorry.”
“If who catches me?” I demanded. The Brownie simply replied, “Hey, that cloud sort of looks like a flower.” I knelt down to get a better look at him. He was wearing what looked to be very grimy slave clothes. He was obviously suffering from some kind of post traumatic stress disorder. I decided to make my way toward the Minotaur mine entrance, but the Brownie followed me. Apparently, he wasn’t done talking with me. I eyed him carefully. He looked amiably upon me, and I could probably beat him in a fair fight.
‘They made me crawl inside their crazy steamwork machines. Turn a screw here, clean some stupid gauge over there. Do I look like a maid?”
“Of course not,” I replied. “You look like an escaped slave.”
I had come to the entrance of the mines, Brownie in tow, and I started in. “Shhh. . . I heard something. Did you hear it? It sounded like maniacal laughter. . . It’s him!” I expected the Brownie to run off at that point, but he seemed to have something to show me, though I don’t know if he was aware of it himself.
We wound through the caverns, and I used my mental powers to mesmerize every Minotaur we came across, more for my confused little friend’s benefit than mine. One of them managed a threat before he lost consciousness, “<Snort!!>.. Death to you! Meldrath commands!!” That seemed to shake up my my Brownie friend. Then, around the next corner he froze, staring at something I’ve never seen in the Minotaur caves before. A giant door!
‘You just wait, soon enough the sky is just going to fall right down on top of you. Don’t bother looking up, you won’t be able to do anything about it.’ I hushed him as I studied the door. The emblem on the front of the door appeared to be the mark of Meldrath. I tried everything to open the door, then take a peek beyond it. As I put my eye up to a gap just too small to see clearly through, I heard the Brownie scream, “What do I have to do to get you to listen? I said RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!”
This was getting me nowhere. I turned to leave the caverns, but the Brownie stayed glued to his spot, transfixed as if by some mysterious force. As if sensing I was leaving, he bid me farewell, “Nice pants.” I returned the sentiment, “Nice haircut,” and cast some protective enchantments on him and found my way back to the surface.
Once on the surface, I spotted some odd mechanical contraptions. They looked like clockworks, but they made a hissing sound rather than a clicking sound. Their markings said, ‘Steamwork,’ but they were seemingly renegade. They seemed to regard me dubiously, but they were quite fragile. I disassembled one and tried to use the parts to repair an inactive clockwork I found in the mining valley, but the parts were apparently not interchangeable.
I explored the next valley behind the mountains, interviewing everyone I could find. Most had nothing to share with me, including Fearonoliop, Phiz Frugrin (who was kind at least), and Halorniop. Genda Minyte said something that made me think of what the Brownie had shared, though. She said, “I love to come out and gaze at the sky. Isn’t it beautiful?” Indeed, it was beautiful, but was the sky really going to fall right down on top of me? I spotted a cloud that looked like a flower.