They reached the end of the pass which was just a short while behind the citadel. A citadel that was built a long time ago to act as stronghold at this side of the mountain range. The group, which had been joined by the Thane and two of his men, stepped out into bright sunlight and were greeted with a view over a wide plane full of lush forests and lakes. Mountains in the distance indicated that the adventurers looked over a wide valley with an opening to the south. The dwarf smiled at the adventurers who had stopped to take in the view after all the time underground.
"I never understood why you people enjoy wide open ground so much. Dwarfs would always prefer a good tunnel over so much open ground!"
He smiled with satisfaction at the disbelieving glances he got.
"I don't expect you tall people to understand the security and riches a good mine can give!"
He continued on the path that came out of the pass and now followed the mountain side to the left. Just a few moments later they could spot the outskirts of Gilderock which was built into the mountain and covered a large area from the path upwards. The city was enclosed by a strong wall and what was visible from the city were many small terraces coming out of the mountain face. Gilderock being a Dwarfen city, there was no doubt that most of its structure was inside the mountain.
When they approached the main gate the signs of battle were clearly visible. Some dwarfs removed bodies of dead orcs, others made repairs to the walls and gate. As soon as their identity could be made out from the walls, a cheer started to build behind the walls and the first dwarfs came running towards them.
"Thane! You are back! Our prayers to Moradin were not in vein!" The dwarf turned to the adventurers: "Word of your heroic achievements have already reached us, noble fighters. We are much indebted to you!" Speaking those words, he bowed to every single one before turning back to Harvak who had already started walking towards the city looking at some dead bodies.
"The orcs came out of the pass yesterday night. Most of them tried to get past the city and towards the valley. Seems that you drove them out of their fortifications! We managed to kill most of them and only a few managed to get down the mountain."
"Well done, Darim! I knew I could leave my city in your capable hands! Give word to the others: Celebrations will start tomorrow for 3 days in honour of our guests without whom the pass would still be closed!"
"I will! This might also please our guest!" Harvak turned around slowly with a careful look! "Guest?"
"Yesterday morning, Prince Thorvil surprisingly arrived with his entourage! He said it was just a routine visit. He resides in your guest quarters."
"What a coincidence..." The Thane had a confused look, but quickly started to smile again when he noticed the inquiring looks of the adventurers.
"Well my friends, it seems we have another special guests for the celebrations. Please follow Darim, he will show you your quarters in my residence at the top of Gilderock. Feel free to look around my city! You are save within its walls and as my guests you will get all help you need. We are renown for the works of art of our blacksmiths and gem cutters and I'm sure you can find something of interest! I have to meet with our Prince and will seek you out once you have settled in."