Finally, they reached Ora, the great dwarven city at the foot of the mountain range. Almost 4 months for a journey that he had not planned in the first place. The airship had done many stops in between and Seth had used to chance to actually enjoy this different world. His knowledge of materials had not grown a lot, but his
But today was the day his stumbling in the darkness would end. The city before them was Ora, a magnificent city with one half sprawling over a great plane and growing high into the air with its other half being built into a great cliff wall. The raven-black walls of the city towering over the plain could be seen from a far distance. Sections of the wall were separated by giant statues of dwarven warriors and watchtowers laced with white and golden ornaments.
Behind the black walls was an ocean of buildings growing higher and higher the closer they were to the cliff, with roof shingles in several shades of blue and their walls ranging from dark grey to white like marble. This was no organically grown village that had grown into a giant city. This was a thoroughly planned and well-constructed metropole.
The airport was situated outside the great walls, so even the nobles traveling on this cruise had to pass the gates under scrutinizing eyes of the guard and the overwhelming presence of the dwarven stone guardians. It was humbling to stand at the foot of the 30-40-meter-tall giants. Even Fin looked up at their hewn faces, slack-jawed before this sight.
The 20-meter-high gates of the city, which barely reached the hips of the guardians, were richly covered in decorative fittings. Just the skill that went into these fittings convinced Seth that he had come to the right place.
People enter via a smaller gate embedded into the giant gates.
Similar to when he became part of the Adventurer guild, their status was checked to see whether they were wanted criminals before being let in by the watchmen. What came before their eyes was a bustling main street that was slowly rising into the distance, all the way up to the cliff where another great gate was situated in the cliff wall, where people would enter the other half of the city. The part where the dwarven population lived in high halls and complexes built directly into the mountains. Other, similar gates led to the expansive networks of mines that pervaded the stone and led deep into the central mountain range. So far and deep, that even among the dwarfs few had an idea where exactly they led.
The main business of the city was obvious in the shops that primarily lined the main street. Blacksmiths, engineers, enchanters, all kinds of weapons and armor shops. Jewelers and gem cutters that sold raw materials and products made from the several rare gems and stones mined deep in the roots of the mountains. Magic and alchemy were also a big part of the scene as many rare materials came from mountains and the dungeons that grew in the old abandoned mines.
Just walking along the street started filling his catalogs with all kinds of entries and blueprints. This was what he had wanted all the time. He looked like a very poor child smiling from ear to ear entering a chocolate factory. Rare materials like
Fin watched Seth excitedly go around from shop to shop, speaking with the vendors, looking at materials. Their first goal was, of course, the guild. It was the best place to get information about the city and society. The only dwarf they had ever met was Yudrid. The grumpy huntress was the fairy`s first dwarf, too.
The only thing the outer city of the dwarven metropole lacked was… dwarfs. And new enchantments, he could identify most of those he saw in the shops.
It was soon revealed why, when they reached the guild. The guildhall in Ora´s outer city was a lot smaller than the one in Oriekot because it was actually split into two branches. The whole city was split. The outer city, which was open for all visitors from any race or faction had a guild branch. And the other one was situated in the dwarven half of the city, the inner city, where only dwarfs and people with their recognition were allowed to enter.
This was also the place to go if you wanted to buy dwarven works. All their shops were located there and dwarves only rarely left their subterranean world. Most of the high-ranking adventurers of Ora could be found there, too. The dungeons growing within the mines and mountain range were extremely dangerous, with rewards fitting the danger.
In the guild, they got a brochure very similar to the one in Oriekot. It had a simple map of the city with the locations of the most important facilities and a catalog of inns and shops found in the outer city.
Since all the dwarfs were hiding in their mountain, Seth needed to find the way in. The receptionist explained to him the three ways to get entry permission. The first was to be a B-Rank adventurer, which meant that he would need to level up and succeed in the rank-up examination. The second was to increase his reputation in the city and take a test by a dwarven official. The third was to be invited by a master from the inner city. Masters of their craft had a high standing in dwarven society and bringing in anyone they liked was just one perk. Not just anyone could waltz into the Halls of Stone, as the locals liked to call it.
They checked in with a medium-sized inn called ”The Lucky Miner ”. James the owner was a friendly elderly beastman with droopy dog-ears. He had been a miner in his youth and experienced a windfall when he found an especially big ingot of mithril, which led to a whole new vain. He used the bonus to open this inn with his family, hence the name. His wife and son were great chefs and the inn was known for its food. One of the reasons they chose this place. After a good meal they wanted to leave again, but the Ivicer wished to stay in the room. It wanted to absorb more solar energy, so Seth and Fin left without it.
Following the inn was the church. Seth wanted to send a message to Simon that he was still alive and finally reached his destination…after 4 months!
The local church greeted him respectfully after affirming that he was an affiliated ori huma. Sending things with the guild was quite expensive, even letters. Especially across worlds. Sending letters for free was the only free and reliable service he got as a lay follower. A shame he didn´t have many friends in other worlds. But they kept in touch with Sarina using this system. The girl had managed to reclaim some of her happiness in the time with her father.
As Seth started writing his letter for Simon, the priest from Starta, a church employee suddenly spoke to Fin, who was sitting on his shoulder and helped him to write the letter, also known as giving him ideas to make fun of Simon. The employee led her away. Seth had long finished the letter when Fin finally returned. Her face was ashen and lacked her usual energetic smile. She looked up a gave a wry smile when she saw Seth´s worried expression.
”Fin is sorry, Seth. Fin- I. I will have to return home soon. ”
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