As the lever clicked into place there was a satisfying clunk and then the grate of metal on metal echoed
around the chamber despite the dampening effect of the soot. A billow of soot puffed into the room from
the far side of the gate from the lever and the pair could see the gate visibly moving sideways across
the room on some form of inset rail.
The pair readied their weapons and fell into a martial stance, ready for whatever was behind the gate.
‘It’s taking its bloody time,’ muttered Khalin, nervously rotating his warhammer in his
The gate inched inexorably across and both of the heroes could already feel the heat begin to rise in the
‘I said this wasn’t a good idea,’ said Tradden.
The pair edged across the room trying to get a better look at was was beyond the gate. They were greeted
by a ruddy glow and a lot of heat. In the corner of the small annexe, seemingly clear of soot, Khalin
spotted an anvil and a whole host of tools, gleaming in the flickering glow. As the gate moved fully
across it seemed obvious to the dwarf.
‘It’s… a… forge…’ whispered Khalin, half to himself. Then, more
boldly, as the full realisation hit him he moved in front of Tradden to get a better look.
‘It’s a bloody forge,’ the dwarf bellowed, ‘and by Moradin’s Hammer,
they’ve harnessed an earth fire!’
The dwarf began to beam, stammering over his sentences as his excitement visibly grew.
‘They’ve got a channel down there directly to an earth fire — the heat you
get for manipulating metals bests any fire man-made,’ he instructed. ‘But what man or beast
could work in there so close to the heat?’
At the back of the annexe was a huge fire grate with a number of shelves, troughs, levers and wheels. It
seemed alive with the flickering glow, subdued by the grate. Khalin surmised that the right combination
of the levers and wheels would release the full potential of the earth fire.
‘Shut the gate, Tradden,’ the dwarf uttered. ‘This is beyond us at the
moment — I don’t fancy meddling in there!’
Tradden simply nodded, not fully understanding what was going on, but understanding enough that to make
some form of mistake here could be fatal. He licked his lips and wiped the sweat from his brow.
‘Right you are,’ he managed, and pushed the lever back to where it had been.
‘Let’s get our things and get out of here.’
The pair only relaxed once the gate was fully back in place once more.