Tag Archives: Basalt

An Interview with Basalt Strongarm from The Wolf Pack

After much persuasion, I managed to get an interview with Basalt, the dwarf friend of Carthinal.

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Me: Good morning, Basalt. Thank you for giving me your time.

Basalt: Hmm! I’m very busy. I hope you don’t intend to be too long.

Me. No, this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Just trying to find a bit about you.

Basalt: Well, what do you want to know?

Me: You’ve lived in Grosmer for a long time, but you weren’t born here, were you?

Basalt: No, I was born in the Dwarven homeland of Graal. It’s at the southern end of the Western Mountains, you know. As far away from those flighty elves as we can get.

Me: But one of your friends is an elf, and another a half elf. Surely you can’t think all of them are flighty/

Basalt: Did I say I thought of them all as flighty? Of course not. Asphodel and Carthinal are just normal folks. So is Yssa. But they will give their children such unpronounceable names.

Me, smiling: So you are not against all elves, then?

Basalt: It’s not me you should be worrying about, but the other dwarves who still think like that. I’m willing to accept that elves, like dwarves and people, have all kinds of folk.

Me: Tell me about your early life,

Basalt: I was my parents’ second child. My brother, Schist, is much older than I am. My parents, Granite and Emerald, had given up hope of another child, then I came along. I guess they spoiled me because of it.

Me: How did Schist react to your birth.

Basalt: He was very good to me. He played with me, looked after me when my parents were down the mine and we got on very well.

Me: Why did you leave Graal then?

Basalt: Everything was fine until my parents were killed in a mine collapse. Then Schist took over the running of the mine. (It belonged to my parents, see). We were supposed to be joint owners, but then she came along.

Me: She?

Basalt: Opal. She set her sights at him when she realised he would be part owner of the mine and rich. They got married, and gradually she poisoned him against me. They gave me all the worst and most dangerous jobs.

Me: But if Schist was so fond of you, how could she manage to turn him.

Basalt: Well, when our parents died, I was still only a little whippersnapper. I’d only just started my apprenticeship. Opal argued that as I was not a qualified miner, and had not worked to build up the mine as had Schist, then it was unfair that I should have equal shares with him. Somehow she managed to convince him. I think she hoped that by giving me dangerous jobs she hoped I’d be killed. So I left.

Me: And made your way to Grosmer where, I believe, you learned the trade of metalworking.

Basalt nodded: And I’ve never regretted it. I love working with metal–making beautiful things as well as useful ones. I also taught myself to carve wood, I make toys for my friends’ children, and I made an amulet for each member of The Wolf Pack, indicating their character as well as showing they are members.

Me: Well, I’ll let you get back to your work. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Basalt: Well, I’ll be off. Work to finish. Goodbye.

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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.