Heroes of Khemer
The travel to Brindinford is interspersed with inns and small hamlets, which we make use of. After a week of relatively peaceful travel, we see the walls of Brindinford come into view. We enter the city with no problems and get a room at the first inn we find. It is still early enough, that we split up for our various agendas we came here for. Mithon opts to wander the city, and Azgar goes to Shooma’s forge, while Ian, Hedrid , and Edward accompany me to the Temple of Tyr. I quickly locate Bishop Octagnius and inform him of Sir Bradford’s fate in the underground citadel, and provide his tabard as evidence. He eyes me suspiciously when I do not identify myself as belonging to one of the knighted orders. Suddenly, his eyes fall upon Cyfiawnder at my hip and questions the legitimacy of my story. I now feel foolish that I must appear to be either an opportunistic grave robber, or even murderer in his eyes. I quickly provide him the sword and defend my innocence in Sir Bradford’s demise. When he asks for proof, I show him the tiwaz that I had received after defeating the hobgoblin, Durnn in the citadel. I confirm that Tyr has blessed me, and that Cyfiawnder has accepted me, and his demeanor suddenly changes. Evidently the proof of my story of being accepted by both Tyr and Cyfiawnder is evidence enough to convince him of my truth. He then inquires to my mentor, and as to why he had not properly ordained me. When I tell him I was mentored by Tren, he smiles with dawning understanding and seems to accept that as explanation enough.
The first stage of my ascension is the Day of Solitude. Over the next day, I am not permitted to eat, drink or sleep while I contemplate my sins in the solitude of the temple. Late in the evening, my reverie is interrupted by the sounds of someone opening the door to the temple. While visitors to the temple are always welcome, it is unusual for one to be interrupted during their Solitude. From my vantage, I can see four armed men enter and look to secure the area, making sure they are alone. They have not seen me, so I back into the shadows and wait to see what they are doing. Once they are confident that they are alone, a hooded woman enters and approaches the altar. Once there, she kneels and the guards seem to form a perimeter around her. I feel that they are not here for nefarious purposes, I politely interrupt them. The guards are caught off-guard and quickly draw their weapons and threateningly advance upon me until she calls them off. She approaches and apologizes for interrupting my solitude stating that she finds this time the best time for prayer. While I find her armed entourage that had to make sure she was here alone, to cause some question to the full truth of her story, I do not question her on it. Up close, she is strikingly beautiful, and I suddenly find myself at a loss for words. She asks for my name, I state it and I humbly request hers. She seems to find that I do not know her and address her as a lady amusing and has a little laugh at my expense. She tells me that her name is Esabelle, and courteously exits the temple. I find the remainder of my night a bit harder to focus on my contemplation as visions of her beauty perpetually interrupts my tranquility.
The next morning, I am approached by Bishop Octagnius and he tells me that my ascension is nearly complete. I am a part of the holy order, a knight in the eyes of Tyr, but not yet one of the Kindred. All I have to do is complete my personal pilgrimage – a quest that will prove my worth. He offers no further explanation to what this may be, and I return to my comrades at the inn. It turns out that Azgar’s meet with Shooma was quite rewarding. Evidently, Shooma was born there, and was only a child when the stronghold fell, being carried away by her parents. She holds a personal stake in what the Dwarves have lost there. Using the map, she was able to discover the whereabouts of the Glitterhame, and entrusted Azgar with reclaiming it for her clan. We agree to make for the mining town of Blasingdell, the nearest civilized outpost to the stronghold itself.
In a few short days, we arrive at Blasingdell and I head to the temple to meet with Sister Alonsa. I inform her of recent events in my life as well and inquire to the status of her and the town. Things are not good, attacks from orcs have made travel outside of the town dangerous. They have captured an orc, and had hoped to get some information from him, but they have been unable to loosen his tongue so far. Shortly thereafter, we are joined by the rest of my companions arrive at the temple, having learned the same gossip from the local tavern. Ian and Azgar believe that they can loosen the orc’s tongue easily enough, and we are shown into the dungeons below the temple. The orc is chained to a wall, and it appears that while the locals have not been merciful, he has not broken. I am somewhat worried of what may transpire here, so I am ready to step in and stop it from becoming unethical, but Ian simply draws a blade and gives it to Azgar, who ceratinly has no reservations against using it on the orc captive. That threat quickly accomplishes what beating could not, and the orc quickly tells us what we want to know. It appears that they have found security in a dwarven stronghold north of here, and are led by one called Ulfe. With the orcs confession matching our suspicions, we make to reclaim Kuhundrukar starting in the morning.
Several hours of travel in, we come to the top of a valley. From here, we see a large hill, with a jutting slab of rock at the peak, the Stone Tooth, where the Glitterhame supposedly lies within. A winding staircase leads in the direction of the hill, so Ian and Mithon move ahead to scout our path. They return stating that there is a pair of goblin guards at the edge of the hill, but the advance to them is in the open. They believe that they can take out the sentries, and we can gain entrance without alerting anyone. They move ahead, while we stay behind, ready to advance if need be, only for them to return shortly thereafter, stating the path to the hill is now clear.
Instead of heading through the recently guarded door in front of us, we circle around to identify a faint wisp of smoke on the other side of the hill. Foraging though the undergrowth, we emerge upon a small rift in the stone where the smoke is emerging from it such as a chimney to a house. Although a small crevasse, it is possible that we could fit, but we cannot see deep enough into it to see what lies on the other end. Bravely, or foolishly perhaps, Ian volunteers to investigate, and quickly climbs into the void. Thankfully, he is able to return, stating that it opens into a cavern, which appears to be a makeshift kitchen or store room. Perhaps this entrance would be strategically better than simply walking into the front door. It is agreed that this may offer us an advantage, and with a deep breath, I offer a humble request to Tyr for safe passage though, as I climb down the rope to join my allies.
I breathe a sigh of relief when we safely emerge in the cavern, and make into the room beyond. This appears to be more of a corridor, for there are many passageways leading off into different paths and many crates of loot captured from travelers – grains, flour and other goods. One wall has a makeshift cage set into it. In the space beyond are two merchants, Geradil and Courana, a husband and wife from Blasingdell, who were recently captured and are hoping to be ransomed for their release. These orcs turn my stomach. Every time I encounter them, it is a vile reminder of what they truly are. They steal and kill at will, and will not stop. So much death and destruction has been at their hands. I now feel that perhaps my naivety in hoping them merely uncouth or perhaps even savage is simply wrong. These are the basest of creatures, and I am a fool for believing otherwise. They are a sickness that must be removed. No more mercy will be granted to them, they will flee or fall to my blade. We do not have a safe passage to get them out of here and back to our camp, so, with some regret, I convince them to stay here until we are able to come back and escort them safely out of the citadel. It is clear that they do not want to remain here for a moment longer, by my promise that we will return holds them. Ian has opened another door and I take note of the stonework that Azgar’s kind are famous for. The door, although at least several hundred pounds of stone, opens as silent as a breeze, and we manage to surprise the orc guards on the other side. While they prove little threat, they manage to set off an alarm that reverberates throughout the walls. An alarm has been sounded, and we quickly find ourselves set upon on two fronts. In the room we entered, there is a rope bridge connecting to the other side, from which arrows force us to cover, while Azgar and I take guard at the rear, from which it sounds like an army approaches.
Shoulder to shoulder, Azgar and I meet our swarming foes head on. It matters not that they have the advantage of numbers, as Azgar and I hold them at bay until we are joined by our allies, who dispatched their own foes and move to assist us. One foe proves to be more challenging than this ilk, but soon the fear is in his eyes, as his allies fall to our assault. From one of the passageways, a loud and booming voice echoes, and a massive creature emerges, promising us a swift and bloody death. The great Ulfe has arrived, led by a pair of large wolves. A chuckle from Azgar is all I need to hear. We set forth upon this fell creature, and he fails to keep his threat, as blades, hammers, arrows and arcane energies extract due vengeance for his crimes against men. Once the battle has ended, we return to the merchants and release them. Beyond the rope bridge is the front door to this citadel, and we aim to escort them to our camp. However, Hedrid proves unable to cross the bridge, and after a few close calls with the void below, he is too shaken to proceed. I volunteer to stay with him here, as the bridge does seem more than a bit foreboding to me as well. Mithon and Azgar agree to take them to the camp, while I stay with Hedrid and Ian.
They return an hour or so later, having made it to the camp and entrusted a worried Edward with their protection, and we continue our expedition. It looks like the front was well defended, with many opportunities for archers to make any approach to this fortress quite costly, and I am now very appreciative that we approached from a less defended entrance. From beyond the passageway that Ulfe came from, we find ourselves in a chiseled hallway. One door leads to a room that Ulfe has been using as his home. A humanoid skull, days old, sits impaled on a spike, adorned to the door in a fashion that turns my stomach. Inside the room are his spoils of war, and the Ian begins to count the coin that is stored in here, under a close watch of a suspicious dwarf, and Hedrid investigates some artifacts found in his horde, including a note to Ulfe suggesting to some allegiance with an unknown elven dignitary. At the end of the hallway is another room that looks to have been converted to a bunk house and a large intricately carved statue of an imposing dwarf, Durgeddin, I suspect. Closer investigation of the statue triggers a trap, and a cloud of noxious vapor fills the hallway, catching me and several of the others who followed. The vapors do not last long, thankfully, and quickly disperse, leaving us retching and gagging. Hedrid says that that was from long ago, and we should be thankful that the potency of that had diminished in time, for it may have killed us otherwise. I take that under consideration. Perhaps, I should be more careful. In another room we surprise a few orcs who appear to be getting up for a guard shift. We take to them before they can react and I give no pause for diplomacy with these vermin. Their fate is quickly sealed, and I do not regret it. Another hallway appears to be blocked off with crates and cases of supplies, forming a makeshift wall. We clear a path through the supplies and enter upon a large room behind a straw-stuffed portcullis. Clearing out some of the straw, we looked int o the room beyond. Astounding dwarven iconography encompasses the walls with the center of the floor cut away for a stairwell leading down into unknown depths. The sounds of rushing water as our only clue to what may lie below.
We make a fulcrum, as Hedrid calls it, and lift the portcullis using a complex arrangement of ropes and spikes. The large intricately-carved room beyond has heavy doors to both the north and south, besides the obvious stairway leading down. I can hear a buzzing sound coming from below, but I cannot determine what it may be , or where it comes from beyond my limited vision. Ian confidently disables a trap on the north door, only to discover that he was mistaken as Azgar is covered in spewing flame. Before we are able to help our dwarven ally we discover the source of the buzzing as small, winged creature resembling bats fly up from the depths and swarm upon us. They prove to be little more than a nuisance as we clear them up. Ian insightfully decides to avoid a seething Azgar, who seems more aggravated at Ian than injured by the fiery trap.
The southern door opens into a room that seemed to be an abode for some orcs. While the orcs prove to be little threat, their leader, a shaman of sorts peppers us with sorcery, but flees through a hidden door once her guards are dispatched, calling for someone named Yarrack. We pursue, but are unable to keep up with her in the twisting labyrinth of caverns. We give up pursuit and head back to move down the stairwell from whence the creatures, identified as stirges by Hedrid, came from.
Down into a massive natural cavern that the dwarves carved an ever-descending stairwell along, passing over a cold and fast moving underground steam, we reach the bottom. Our descent has not gone unnoticed as we seem to have awoken a nest of sirges from high above. This time, they prove to be a larger threat as we cannot see them until they are upon us. Suddenly, a mysterious roar claims what little attention we have to spare. We see, from the far end of the cavern a massive bear being led by a pair of troglodytes. The ensuing battle was far from the battles of legend, but in the end we stood victorious. While we were concerned that not all of the stirges were dispatched, but having thoroughly taxed ourselves in the last several skirmishes, we agreed to take a break, keeping a wary eye to the sky.
Several hours passed without any incidents from the stirges and we felt much more rejuvenated in body and spirit, and pressed on. The caverns have many passageways leading to and from it and we did our best to make sure we cleared them all. Eventually, we entered upon the largest and most stunning cavern I have seen. Based on the gasps from the rest of my comrades, they were as just as awestruck as well. Giant glowing mushrooms filled the cavern with a hypnotic eerie light. Even Azgar seemed taken aback at the breathtaking landscape before us.
Skirting around the edge of the cavern, we came upon a ledge that Azgar and Ian scurried up and into a cave beyond. I was alerted to the sounds of battle and helped fell two snake-like creatures attacking our allies. A short, but sturdy iron door was found nearby. Obvious of it’s dwarven origin, it has stood the test of time and the invading orcs only to remain unwilling to give way to us as well. A path cut through the cavern to the far side, so we follow that to a burial chamber. While debate had been made by others to violate the remains of those laid here, Azgar and my objections were noted and we agreed to investigate the rest of the cavern instead.
That decision almost proved costly as the next cavern searched was slick with the torrent of water from the stream, as Ian lost his balance and quickly disappeared from view. I moved to assist, only to be pulled in the frigid waters as well. The rest of the party eventually came to their senses and assisted us out of the river. A winding stairwell led down to where the river’s water passed through, so we descended even more into the Glitterhame. The doors down here had not stood the test of time as well as the one above is and were swollen and rotten. In the rooms beyond, the items stored here hundreds of years ago have also suffered the same fate. The decomposed and rotted foodstuffs made the room nearly unbearable. We were startled to see an oozy puddle of liquid suddenly move towards us, with satiating it’s hunger as its obvious intent. Ian’s reflexes proved to be barely enough to escape digestion, as the slime attached itself to his armor, and it quickly started dissolving. While it moved towards me, an inspired Ian & Azgar used lit oil to burn the beast and setting it ablaze and ending it’s carnivorous nature.
We catch our breath after our gelatinous adversary lies at our feet and take stock of the area . There appears to be little more than spoiled foodstuffs, so we press on into another similar set of rooms, also spoiled by the underground river that passes through the caverns.
We soon cross the swift moving river over a sturdy Dwarven stone bridge and follow a natural cavern to the north. It winds into a larger cavern, that again is split by the river. On the south bank, lies a solitary stalagmite. On the north bank is a sturdy door, which we proceed to, until Mithon calls out a warning. Suddenly, Azgar is set upon by tentacles, reaching from across the river, by this aberration, who does not appear to be a simple stalagmite as we suspected. “Roper!,” cries Hedrid, who warns of it’s natural resistance to magics and mundane weapons. As I free Azgar from the creature’s grasp, Mithon and Ian assault the roper with precise strikes using range to keep the creature at bay. As he steps back to avoid the onslaught, Azgar leaps across the bank to take the fight to him. I quickly join him, as we both find difficulty penetrating the creature’s rocky hide. However, perseverance pays off, as our attacks have forced the creature back against a wall, the whole time being shot by Mithon, who’s uncanny accuracy searches any weakness in his carapace. The creature suddenly begs for mercy, but his pleas fall short, as Ian, who had been lost in the chaos of the battle, proves to be as accurate as Mithon, as he attacks from the shadows and fells the beast with a thrown dagger. Azgar strangely jams his hand down into the beast’s maw, and after a few moments of arguing to seemingly no one but himself, he produces several gems and a ring from within the creature’s belly.
Passing through the doorway, we enter into what must have been the prison. Several small rooms appear to be cells, the first two being open, but the final one, seeming still locked. Ian deftly opens the door and is swatted away by Azgar who looks to the cell’s final tenant, a Dwarven corpse. However, this dwarf is armored in a breastplate, not what we’d expect to see adorned on one so imprisoned. Mithon, who normally engages in innocent taunting with Azgar, speaks critically over possible reasons for the Dwarf’s apparent self-imprisonment, and Azgar quickly takes offense. Hedrid, steps in to calm Azgar down before his temper got the best of him. Azgar then checks and finds a small key upon the dwarves skeletal remains. Perhaps the very key for the iron door we could not pass through in the caverns earlier. We move back into the large, glowing chamber and insert the key into the door. The key fits as well as we hoped, and reveals a stairwell leading up a large octagonal room, with two doors amidst three large statues of remarkable craftsmanship. Before I step into the room, Ian, Mithon & Azgar cautiously investigate and identify that the doors are false, and set to inflict deadly injury on one who would foolishly open the doors. They are also quick to point out that a secret passageway lies behind one of the statues, and reveal a door that leads to yet another ascending staircase.
Half way up the stairs, a disembodied voice announces our presence to all, as it warns all within earshot that intruders are approaching. Even though what lies beyond the staircase is likely well aware of our presence, we move into a immense Dwarven hall beyond. A authoritative voice on the other end of the vast hallway speaks from within the shadows, warning us to leave. We have not faced all the dangers that led us here, to turn away, so we call out our intention of liberating this citadel from all who infest it after the fall of Durgeddin, and boldly move into the room. We are immediately set upon by bolts from out of nowhere, and I find myself unable to see any adversary. Only Tyr’s guidance warns me of attacks, allowing me to deflect blows that would have certainly felled me. Hedrid, calls out that invisible foes have me surrounded, and I strike out. Tyr’s guidance, again, is clear, as I strike true with Cyfiawnder at an unseen foe. A large gray-skinned creature, resembling a dwarf appears, clutching his throat where Cyfiawnder struck. He quickly shrinks in size, to that of a more normal-sized dwarf, before falling to the ground. Memories of childhood stories, of dark-skinned outcast dwarves flood my mind as I fail to remember what these creatures of legend were called. Moment’s later several more of the large grey Dwarves reappear, as their as if their magical defenses expire, and quickly fall until we alone remain standing in the hall. It is apparent, that the continual use of his arcane powers has taken it’s toll on Hedrid, and I call that we should rest. We take refuge in the octagonal room, and Azgar confirms my suspicions of the foes we faced. Duergar – the dark dwarves that have been excommunicated from the rest of the dwarven races.
Our repast is quickly interrupted by someone, a woman, calling from the room above. She is requesting audience with us, and we move back to the hall to meet this stranger. Opposite us is a female Duergar and several armored guards. She calls us out on our attacks on her brethren in their home, and while we defend our actions, it falls onto deaf ears as only thinly veiled insults, bravado and taunts are all that are spoke between our two factions. We are at an impasse, and it seems that a battle is imminent. Hedrid, is barely able to stand, so I am concerned about his safety should a we all come to arms against each other. Instead, it is agreed that one of us will face one of them, a battle of champions. To the winner, the right of the halls. She boldly steps forward to meet her opponent, as Azgar steps to meet her. This is his quest, this is his fight, and I will Tyr to keep vigilance over this duel.
She immediately turns invisible, much to the dismay of Azgar. He looks wildly, hoping to sense his opponent, but is unable to do so. He looks to the Duergar standing opposite us and with a dangerous look in his eyes, he takes a step towards them. I am suddenly worried that he may break the agreement we made and set upon them instead. This would not bode well for us, while I would not stand idle to his five on one battle, it would be a most dishonorable action – one that we would have to cede defeat for. We would have no choice but to return to the surface, disgraced. Thankfully, Azgar does not advance upon them. Instead he shoulders up his shield, and just in time as he is set upon by his invisible foe, striking back for no advantage. His blind attacks either miss, or is deflected by her. Finally, Azgar’s patience is rewarded, as, after several blows are harriedly blocked by shield or deflected by armor, she suddenly reappears – her tactic foiled. With a chuckle that echoes in the hallway, Azgar simply says “Now it’s my turn” and advances. Raining blows down on her with a savage furiously, he pummels her without quarter. Stopping only one strike before her almost certain demise, he surprisingly offers her the choice to surrender. Seeing no means to win this battle, she humbly accepts defeat as she drops her maul at her feet.
The room is silent for several moments as we wait to see what her followers do. They unexpectedly keep to their word and ask to make preparation to vacate the fortress. Azgar offers her his hand up and seems to have found a new found respect for her. Perhaps she has as well, for as she exits, she warns us to be cautious to the east as the dead lurk beyond the eastern doors. As they depart, she offers one last word of advice. As it echoes in the great hall, she warns of a dragon, lurking somewhere in the depths below.
We take our truce with the Druegar as a positive sign and continue our resting for the night. The next morning, we make back up the stairs to the great hall to discover a disturbing sight at the far end in the darkness. The female Duregar that accepted defeat to Azgar is hanging, brutally suspended from the ceiling by chains that have been hooked in to her. My stomach turns at this vile act. This woman accepted an honorable duel, and lost. In doing so, she lost face in her kind. Feeling her unfit, the must have punished her for her honorable deeds. I am so appalled at this, I am unaware of the trap set by the remaining Duergar who set upon us, with magic and steel. Again, they attack, using their ability to blend into the darkness, making them invisible to us. Hedrid’s arcane arts allow him to see them, and he does his best to call out where they are. His acts are most appreciated, as Azgar and I are forced to defend against several unseen attacks. Luckily for us, we have faced this before and have learned that this deceit is short lived. Once this concealment ends, we will finish this However, Hedrid seems to be less complacent, and sets into them with fire, immolating them where they stand. This bold tactic inspires us as we quickly eliminate the traitorous Druegar.
After the battle, we respectively lower their former leader down, and move towards the southern rooms. Beyond the double doors the druegar passed through last night is a large cavern filled with several forges, still lit from the night before. The famed forges of Durgeddin. The far end of the cavern ends in a large waterfall, spilling into the depths below. Mithon spots a ladder on the north end, starting on a landing equal to us, leading down. There does not appear to be a means to reach it from here, so we move back into the hall and go through the northern doors.
The first room we enter appears to have been a shrine at one time. Several decayed corpses of orcs, ogres, dwarves litter the room, scattered upon the broken pews. On a shrine, at the far end, lies a dwarven corpse on a shrine. It appears to be the final resting place of Durgeddin the Black, as he is surrounded by both fallen allies and adversaries. Even though the events in this room happened hundreds of years ago, his body looks incredibly well-preserved. Not surprisingly, Cyfiawnder‘s is emitting a faint blue flame, flickering down the blade. The risen dead are near. As if aware of our precaution, a greenish mist coalesces in the room as the dead rise and move toward us with certain ill intent. Azgar, blows on Azun Gund, and the mist and dead are repulsed by it’s shrill noise. It appears that the powers of this whistle are true, as the dead seem to do all they can to stay away. Seeking to encompass the whole group, Azgar unexpectedly moved back to the doorway. At my feet, I see the green mist circling. Looking ahead, I see the dead are surrounding their only target, me. I try to step back too late, and feel their claws suck the life from me. I fall to the ground, and the world darkens before me.
“Why are you here?” a deep voice asks me from the darkness. Confused, I look around, or at least, I think I do. The darkness is so complete, I am not sure if I am even looking. Again, the voice asks me “Why are you here?” This time it is louder, or closer, I think. It sound familiar, comforting – like my father or Tren. I have no reason to offer why I am here, so I answer honestly that I do now know. “It is not yet your time. You are not ready.” the disembodied voice says, feeling right around me. “Return, Atreus.” echoes inside my head, as a distant dim light forms in front of me and gets brighter and closer. As I see the forms of Mithon and Hedrid take shape in front of me, I realize that the light is my vision returning. The sounds of fighting continue, the battle has not been won. Getting up, I pick up Cyfiawnder and move towards my allies who are holding back the dead. Several of the dwarven and orc corpses have already fallen, and but they are still facing a large ogre and orc. Threats and taunts are being hurled between my allies and the dead as if they are children, with neither side willing to advance on the other. A stalemate. Not for long, these souls have haunted the land of the living for too long. It is time to lay these beings to their final rest. I walk to the ogre, who is menacingly standing before us in obvious defense of the orc. To get to the orc, I must get through his guard. The power of Cyfiawnder radiates in my arm, and one swing easily removes his head from his body. His guardian has fallen, and I step over him to return the orc to the realm of the dead. Cyfiawnder strikes true and the orc falls back to the alter, crashing into and pulling down Durgeddin’s mortal remains a top of it. Only then do I realized my companions have joined the battle. I was so intent on ridding the realm of this abomination, I had not realized they had assisted me. While the battle is over, Cyfiawnder still eerily emits it blue flames – more undead still roam the fortress.
Once the orc falls, the preservation on Durgeddin also seems to fade away, as he quickly crumbles to the age of a 200-year old corpse. His armor is taken by Azgar who vows to use it to rid the stronghold of the rest of Durgeddin’s foes. In the mean time, Mithon and Ian, have uncovered a concealed passage in the eastern wall. We pass through and emerge in another hallway, with doorways on both sides. Ian slips in one, and I am alarmed by the sounds a female scream. In the room, Ian has roused the dead, both dwarves and orcs, and they have him surrounded. Azgar and Mithon create an opening in the room, and I move in, retuning the standing dead once more to the ground. I take in the room, it appears to have been living quarters, but there is no woman in distress here, only Ian. I stifle a chuckle once I realize where the shriek originated from, as he tries to convince us that he had the situation well under control and our help was completely unnecessary.
A large pool sits in the center of this intersection. It is filled with some strange black liquid. From the hallway beyond the pool, a strange sound emanates. What begins as a quiet murmuring, quickly turns in to a maddening babbling, that not only causes discomfort, but hurts the head. A spectral creature, clearly another of the risen dead, floats into the room, with the source of the sounds identified. Ian, perhaps only to redeem himself, boldly move to attack, with Azgar and me quickly behind. Cyfiawnder solidly connects with the spectre and he retreats into the pool, where my blade is blocked by some magical barrier. Hedrid, tells us to distance himself from the pool, as the means to hurt him, so Azgar uses Azun Gund, repelling the creature away from him, and the protection of his pool. Again the radiance of Cyfiawnder in my hands returns the creature to the afterlife. A comfort settles upon me, like a serene gentle breeze. I feel like a important decision has been deemed to have been correctly made. All of the choices that I believed I personally made, following Tren and relentlessly training to become a Kindred, picking up Cyfiawnder , have not been a decision that I could have chosen otherwise, they were instinctive decisions that could only have had one outcome, and now I believe I know why. My allies may be down here for other reasons, fame, glory, riches, treasure, but I have my own reason, duty. It is my responsibility to do this. These dead will again never rise again to trouble another, they will rest in peace. To make a difference where I am able. I take a deep breath, and return to my allies, who are oblivious to my catharsis.
We take a respite for a few hours to rest and move on. The next rooms are mostly barren of interest. Everything has been gutted by the orcs or duergar. We eventually come to a large living room, seemingly untouched. A large carpet dominates the center of the room, which animates to attack us once we enter. Hedrid’s magics make short work of it and we press on eventually encountering an animated crossbow and lethal creature comprised of kitchen utensils. While we overcome these constructions, I am left wondering what manner of creatures we are facing. They do not appear to be living, perhaps powered by the vile magics that have corrupted the area? One room appears to be an extensive library that Hedrid decides we need to rest in. While he does not much mask his true intent of perusing the tomes, the break is not unwarranted. After a while, we are ready to continue, except Hedrid who seems content to remain here for the time being. Searching around the adjoining rooms leads us to a secret hallway where we discover the rusted iron ladder that Mithon saw from the other end of the cavern. The other direction of the hallway leads to the meeting rooms behind the throne room, as well as the once private quarters of Durgeddin. With no other obvious directions before us, we proceed down the rust ladder, even deeper into the Glitterhame, with the reluctant wizard.
Upon reaching the end of the ladder, we are in a natural cavern that has two dwarven-made bridges crossing over the fast-moving steam. The first one leads to a small opening that does not seem to lead anywhere, unless one were risk crossing the steam, so we opt for the second bridge. This opens up into a larger room, with smaller landings along the edges, and an island at the end of our light. Suddenly the weight of Azgar and me causes the bridge to give way, I quickly jump forward and Azgar retreats back. The remains of the bridge float away and I am wondering how we are to traverse around this natural obstacle when the sounds of something large coming out of the water demanding my full attention. I turn around and shine my lantern on something massive and glossy black. A dragon, who menacingly asks what fools dare to disturb Nightscale’s lair.
With a cry, I charge the Nightscale. I hope that if it focuses on me, it may allow my allies to get over here. With me and Ian as the only two over here, we will almost certainly need help. Also, on the edge of the bridge, they could be easy targets and I am worried that anyone caught in the current could be quickly lost. While the dragon we fought in the citadel was around the size of a large dog, this one seems quite a bit larger, perhaps the size of a large horse. This does not seem to faze Ian, who leaps atop the beast, with a maniacal laugh. The beast pays him little heed, as her tail comes up and swats Ian off as if he was a buzzing insect. Her claws and teeth come at me with immense speed and power, and only my armor and shield protect me. Nightscale seems cunning as well, something I did not take much into consideration, as she sprays me with an acidic blast. While my cuirass protects me well enough from the damage, it also quickly deteriorates, and falls away. This may not fare well, as I could not expect to survive such an attack again. The battle cry of Azgar is heard as he charges to face the dragon at my side, striking it with powerful blows. The air around Nightscale suddenly freezes and quickly turns to ice as arrows pepper his hide, from Hedrid & Mithon’s ranged assaults. Another attack from the dragon reminds me of the absence of my armor, as his claws painfully find my flesh. This needs to end quickly, and we cannot give her a chance to recover, so I whisper a prayer and further imbue Tyr’s might into Cyfiawnder, and white light envelops the sword. Before I complete the prayer, the creature dives into the dark waters. We spread out and wait for her to resurface. This is her lair, and she will not likely retreat. But being her lair, he could strike from anywhere. A splash of water from south of us tells us that she is surfacing on another landing. The roar she emits is one that sounds both hurt and angry, she is not going anywhere. This would be difficult to get across under normal circumstances, but with this beast attacking, it may be impossible. Before any of us can foolishly advance, the single twang of an arrow reverberates and the beast’s head snaps back as she falls, half into the water unmoving. Awestruck, we turn and stare at Mithon, who, with no adulation of his own, lowers his bow and looks indifferently at us. He just killed a dragon. One shot, into the creature’s eye, and he doesn’t even smile? This elf is a strange one, indeed.
We manage to cross over the landings and come to the island. It glitters with coin and we quickly take stock of the dragons’s horde. Besides the many coin that lay scattered upon the island, there are several items that bear the mark of Durgeddin, all rightfully claimed by Azgar. Other items are quickly claimed and we make to return to the surface.