Interview with Basalt Strongarm

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Me: Thank you for allowing this interview. I know you are a
busy man.

Basalt: Fine, but be quick about it as I have work to do. I
am working on a particularly difficult piece of metalwork for
the Duke and I want to get back to it.

Me: OK, I’ll try to be quick. Tell me how you came to be in
Grosmer please.

Basalt: Hmph! I should be working my own mine now, not
doing wrought ironwork for someone else!

Me: Please explain.

Basalt: My parents owned a fine mine in Ghraali. They had
just one son, called Schist, but always wanted another child,
they said. When I was born many years later, they were
delighted.

Me: Where is Ghraali?

Basalt: It is the dwarven homeland at the southern end of the Western Mountains, just to the west of the Inner Sea. Fine ores and gems can be found there. It was once volcanic, but not any more. Not like the Mountains of Doom!

Here he shuddered as if he was remembering an unpleasant experience.

Me: Did the mine fail then?

Basalt: Not at all! It was all my brother and his wife.

Me: Please explain.

Basalt: Well, my brother was very caring towards me at first. He was nearly fully grown when I was born. He used to make wooden toys for me. He was a very good wood carver and he taught me how to carve too. Then he met HER.

Me: Her?

Basalt: His wife! She was called Opal. He met her one day in the town. She was visiting a relative or something. Oh, she was beautiful, of that there is no doubt, but she was hard and cold inside. She had ambition. Her ambition was to be rich.

Me: So how did that affect you?

Basalt. She poisoned Schist against me. She wanted him to have sole control of the mine, see. My parents were going to leave it to us jointly. After they were married, she came to work with us in our mine, of course. One day, there was an accident in the mine. Mother had taken me with her to the face. This was common practice with youngsters as both men and women work in the mines. I was playing with a small hammer a little distance away, tapping at a little rock when I heard a terrible rumbling and the rock face fell down covering mother.

Here he paused and sniffed. I waited for him to continue.

Basalt: I ran and tried to clear some of the rocks with my little hammer and bare hands. Others came to help, but when we finally pulled her out it was too late.

Me: I’m sorry, Basalt. It must have been dreadful for a small boy.

Basalt: Yes, it was.

Me: But you still had your father.

Basalt: Yes, for a little time. Then a similar thing happened again. This time it was my father who was killed. So here was I with only my brother and his wife to look after me.

Me: Did she show you any animosity at that time?

Basalt. No, not really. she was cold, did all that she had to for me, but no more. Schist tried to do as much as he could at first, but gradually he froze towards me too. I swear she poisoned his mind with false tales. I know she did tell him some things against me.

Me: But you were now part owner of the mine.

Basalt: Yes, but still a minor so had no say. Schist did all the decision making and day to day running.

Me: What happened when you came of age?

Basalt: That was when the worst started. There were a few falls in the mine and Opal accused me of causing them. Firstly she said it was carelessness, then she began to imply that it was sabotage–that I wanted the mine for myself and was trying to kill her and Schist. Eventually a fall, quite natural this one, just missed Schist. She took her opportunity and somehow managed to convince the elders of the town that I had engineered it. She even got some of the workers to testify that they had seen me interfering with the workface. They were believed and I was told that I could face the death penalty or exile. I chose to leave and that is how I came to be in Grosmer.
I am beginning to think that Opal also had something to do with the death of my parents, but I have no proof, and after all these years I cannot possibly prove anything.

Me: Thank you for your time, Basalt.

Basalt: Thank you. Now I must go to finish that job.

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