As they descended the wide staircase Levi spoke up with some questions of her own.
'I see you've changed. Since Lou gave you those crazy boots I've rarely seen you out of them. I have to ask too. Even for an elf, those platforms and heels couldn't be the most practical footwear for heavy traveling. How could you navigate in them so well?'
Now Brigit smiled. 'Do you really know how good Lou is? They were enchanted. He called them 'Boots of Balance'.' An unbidden chuckle escaped her mouth at that. 'The look of the boots was quite deceiving, but I could walk along a thread stretched between mountaintops and not fall in those boots. I couldn't trip and fall if I wanted to when I was wearing them.'
Levi looked impressed. ' I knew Lou was good, but I didn't know he was that much of a Wizard.'
'Yes he is.'
'So why would you give them up?' Levi asked
'It seems I no longer need them.' Brigit replied without looking back at Levi. 'So, what's up with those towers and why are we going to the sub-basement of this tower?'
As they walked this lowest level, Levi led them to a narrow set of steps that descended further to the sub-basement and foundation of the tower. 'I think it might be easier to show you than explain.' Replied Levi as they descended.
After less than a minute with only the echoing click of their boots on stone stairs, they reached the bottom and an ante room. The room was lit by a single dwarf crystal, which Levi found odd, since they usually needed daylight to give them their power of light. From beyond an open doorway even more light shone into the ante chamber. Levi led them through the doorway and Brigit was greeted by a curious site.
The walls and columns that the elves had built a millennium ago still stood, but most of the floor had been removed and excavated deeper. The only original floor left formed something akin to a seaside dock. Everything else was dirt floor. But that was not the most unusual site. Large metal devices or machinery sat in the room with giant gears, pipes and stuff Brigit knew nothing about. Such machines were becoming more known throughout the societies of humans and dwarves.
Besides the machines, a giant hole had been opened and reinforced at one side of the high ceiling basement. What must be dwarf crystals, hung from chains from the ceiling. Eight of them lit the room fairly well.
Though elves and dwarves alike saw well in the dark, white light was always better. In the dark, everything became shades of one or two colors with deep shadows and only differences in heat were really detectable. When it came to seeing in the dark, a cold night with a full moon was the best a dwarf or elf could see. The moonlight did not interfere with a dwarf's or elf's heat vision and the cold made warm bodies stand out like a beacon. On the other hand, inanimate objects that took on the temperature of their surroundings were always hard to see.
Another odd site on the ground was a series of parallel wooden beams supporting what looked to be heavy metal rails leading off into a dark tunnel beyond the new hole. There were two sets of these 'rails'. Also there was all manner of supply crates and barrels as well as tools, and construction debris scattered about the large room. Apparently this area was still under construction. When the two women were half way to the rails, Brigit could see metal wagons sitting on the rails. Three appeared to be linked together and a lone one was on the other set of rails.
The nearer set of wagons was made up of two deep wagons filled with crates and one flat one that looked like it had a well pump lever on it. Just then a small figure leaped up from nowhere and landed on one of the crates in a wagon.
'G'morn ladies!' A cheerful voice rang. To Brigit, in the dim light, it looked as if child were greeting them, but the voice and the hairy face she could just make out, proved this was no child, human, elf or dwarf. Though about the height of a dwarf, this guy was considerably less stocky, in fact, quite skinny.
'Whadya think Levi!?' The diminutive character struck a pose atop the crate with one hand in a wave and the other in a presentation pose declaring the short wagon train he stood above. 'All packed and ready! And who's the fine lass with ya?' He asked with a click of tongue against his teeth.
Brigit had stopped walking and just stared for a moment hands on hips.
Levi, smiling, turned to Brigit and held a hand towards the small man and said, 'Brigit, meet Fergus of the Gnomogran people. And Fergus, meet Brigit.'
The small figure leaped from the crate and landed on the 'dock' and held out his hand. 'Ah! Brigit, I've heard of you. Mostly good.' He laughed and smiled, still holding out his hand. Brigit eventually took it. He was indeed a man. Bronze and weathered skin and a face of creases and dark whiskers gave it away, but he was no taller than a child of eight or ten. His firm handshake demonstrated fair strength in one so small. 'You are quite pretty for an elf! Almost as pretty as the lovely Levi here.' He hooked a thumb in Levi's direction while Brigit's one eyebrow went up, as was her habit. He was fairly skinny and wiry and the features on his large and seemingly oversized head were also...oversized. A bit.
'Well nice to meet you Brigit, but I'm in quite a hurry, Shalivar needs to see me and I have to be off. He scampered off towards the stairs and yelled to Levi, 'Good luck lass Levi, I hope you find what you're looking for.' He stopped and abruptly turned and with a stern look on his face and concern in his voice, while pointing his index finger straight in the air and said, 'Be careful, and do come back soon, I'm sure I'll quite miss you.' His stern look turned to a smile and a wink and he bounded off and up the stairs.
Brigit just stood there looking at Levi and finally said, 'What was that?'
'You mean who and I introduced you already.'
'That's not what I mean.' Retorted Brigit.
'I'll tell you on the way to the Zep tower. But first we have to get this thing going.'Levi jumped down to the flat wagon and after a pause and a shake of her head, Brigit followed.
'These little guys are little mechanical geniuses.' Levi said. 'All we have to do is get this pumping and we'll be on our way.'
Brigit's eyes narrowed looking at Levi. 'And I guess moving this giant lever has something to do with that.'
'Yes indeed. But let's both get on one side of it first.' Levi grabbed one half of the lever and Brigit grabbed the other half. The lever was more like a seesaw with both women on the same side for the moment. 'We have a lot of weight here and it will take the two of us to get this started. Push down with me, then push up and after we get rolling I'll jump to the other side.'
Both women were strong and in a few moments had the three wagons train moving. The 'pumping' quickly got easier as they moved and Levi leaped to the other side. Soon they were both alternating pushing down. As one pushed the other got a moment of rest and the whole thing picked up speed. In a few moments they had reached a crest and Brigit could see that they were about to go down hill. Not a steep hill, but enough for them to cease their efforts and coast for a bit.
'We'll be at the towers in just a few minutes.' Levi said as the wagon train picked up speed.
'This is safe?' Brigit asked.
'A couple of accidents in the beginning, but no deaths or dismemberment.' Levi said with a straight face. 'I'll have to tell you a bit about the gnomes, when we get where we're going. I forgot how noisy this thing is.' Levi had to speak up as the noise of the metal wheels along the metal rails increased proportionately with speed.
It was dark, but Brigit's heat vision allowed for some detail. The other set of rails was no longer visible. The rail paths split and they were in there own tunnel now. For the first time in a long time, Brigit marveled and was impressed. This was quite an invention. In fact the potential was overwhelming. For the moment Brigit and Levi just enjoyed the speed and wind in their faces.
PoserPro 2012 and Vue 11inf. Made from a various collection of props that were placed once imported in to Vue. Characters set up in Poser.
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