Session 7

Into the Underdark

After a tumultuous first day in Port Ruin, the group had managed nonetheless to secure an audience with Thane Brokk so that Ghesha could fulfil her agreement with Governor Annorius and see whether she could get the dwarvish city to aid Treciun in the war more directly. The group, now even larger with the addition of Bree to their fold, convened in the bar of the tavern to gather their thoughts before seeing the Thane, but they were interrupted by a strange figure who, approaching their table, asked to join them.
Esviel, quite thin-skinned following the events of the previous day, demanded to know the intentions and identity of the figure who, upon being unmasked, turned out to be a (relatively) young elf named Y’nnad. He claimed to have left the Colleges of Magic in Dex some six months ago, although as to the reasons for this he was less forthcoming. Y’nnad had approached the group because two of their number were dragonborn, who were likely to hail from Dex also, and they might possess information as to his goal, which was to locate either a wizard by the name of Brelnan or his female apprentice, whose name was unknown, as Y’nnad wished to learn more of the research that this wizard had undertaken before his disappearance and subsequent excising from the records at the Colleges. Neither Ghesha nor Bael’tor knew much of these figures, but the group was interested to learn a little more about the missing wizard who seemed to be strangely mixed up with the invasion that raged on to the east. Esviel and Marina (and Temperance, who tried to intimidate the stranger with the revelation of her devilish nature) managed to forge an agreement with the elf, promising that if he aided them in their endeavours that they would be sure to turn up the information for which he searched.
As this pact was formed, the group noticed that Temperance’s revelation had summoned a rather large group of guards, all of whom were quite agitated at the tiefling. Altercations seemed imminent before a simple charm from Temperance sent the guard captain away smiling, leading his highly confused men. The group then headed up the Hundred Steps towards the three Halls that overlooked the cavernous city of Port Ruin.
Before going to the Hall of the Thane, Ghesha lead the party to the leftmost Hall, that of the Gods, to see if she could have her cursed belt removed. The High Balance, spiritual leader of Port Ruin, required a donation to perform the ritual that far exceded what she was willing to pay, but promised that if she delivered a message to the High Balance in Fort Reckless to the west that the ritual would be performed there in payment, as the invasion from the Lowlands had caused breakdowns in communication between the dwarf cities. Irritated at the continual expectation that she pay for things, Ghesha begrudgingly agreed, and the party moved towards the Hall of the Thane where they were asked to await the conclusion of the previous meeting.
This conclusion proved to be a great deal more visible than had been expected, as the chair of the Thane crashed through the doors of his study to announce an end to his previous discussion. Going in with some trepidation, the party met the fiercely bearded and slightly-day-drunk Thane Brokk, a figure who appeared as though he would be far more comfortable anywhere else than where he was. Ghesha delivered her documentation and tried to convince the Thane to aid the Marchlanders, with Esviel, Marina and Cedric all agreeing that it would be in the best interests of the dwarves. The Thane, while he seemed far more than willing to run headlong into the fight, informed them that a declaration of war could only come from his warleader, the Thane of Fort Stoic, and due to a number of factors the methods of communication that had existed between the cities were currently unavailable (due to volcanic activity, winter storms and the invasion of the Marchlands).
The reveal of this impasse had the group concerned at the fate of the Marchlands, but the Thane had a potential solutions. He mentioned that the Thane of Fort Stoic had at one point theorised the possibility of a flying ship, and then he said a bunch of other stuff that no one heard because sky pirates (those things being that this flying ship was actually quite close to being completed and there were a few different paths that they could take to get to Fort Stoic). The group decided that, time being of the essence for Esviel to get to Stormhaven, they would take the more dangerous but faster route through the Deep Roads that passed through the Underdark. Thane Brokk promised them a guide to take them there, documentation to encourage Thane Gleamhammer to accept their aid and, if they were able to secure a declaration of war from the Thane of Fort Reckless, the presence of himself and Bessy (a rather large maul that he kept worryingly close to hand by his desk).
The party spent the remainder to the day preparing for the voyage, making sure that they had enough provisions to get through the long dark roads. The guide that Brokk had promised them, a solid-looking dwarven ranger with a short-cut beard named Knock (no relation) met them and judged them to be ably equipped for the journey, promising to meet them at the mine entrance in the morning. But Port Ruin had one final surprise for the group, with Temperance informing the group that an envoy from the Order of The Returned had found her, sent by the god and the wishes of her late adoptive father Urth to take her to the Great Expanse in the west, there to receive information from her god that could no longer be delayed. Surprised at how much the impending leaving of their tiefling friend torn at their group, they shared a rushed goodbye before Temperance left in company of a stern-faced elven woman. Sleeping the night away with a little less comfort than they had been expecting, the group bade their farewells to Baz at the Sole Regret and began the next stage of their journey into the depths of the earth.
Knock proved to be a fine guide, leading them through a series of long passages that stretched from the mines of the city deep beneath the roots of the mountain ranges. However, a pleasant travelling atmosphere similar to that found on the Empress’ Luck was gradually replaced with an oppressive weight as they entered what Knock identified as the Gemstone Mines, an enormous cavern with the distant twinkles of precious stones seen from afar. Knock warned that, from here, they had entered the realm of dangerous beasts and that his instructions must be followed absolutely. The tension did not abate through the long walk, most of a day’s travel through the vast space, before they reached a wall on the other side and, apparently quite relived, Knock announced this to be their campsite for the night.
Bael’tor noted that, despite the low level of light that Knock made sure that they kept, the wall that they camped beside glistened with precious gems. Knock assured him that, while the seams here were rich, the noise that any mining would create would surely draw dangerous creatures to them swiftly. However, Bael’tor pointed out that his magic could silence such noise, igniting a avaricious gleam in the ranger’s eyes. They swiftly created an impromptu mining operation, with the dwarf and the dragonborn taking a pair of pickaxes to the emeralds near their campsite, extracting a large quantity of the valuable stones from the wall in complete silence.
As the pair greatly increased the wealth of the group, Y’nnad noted that there was a faint magical aura that was slowly moving through the cavern a small distance away. Pointing this out to Ghesha, Cedric, Marina and Esviel, the group was split between the druid and sorcerer wanting to explore the area, the rogue and the pirate thinking it far to treacherous and the wizard torn between a natural curiosity and a learned caution. Catching the attention of Knock, he flatly stated that it would be a stupid, stupid idea and that they should not venture in the cavern. Watching him turn back to his mining, Cedric morphed into a wolf and vanished into the darkness towards where the aura was moving and where, now that they listened carefully, the party could discern the faint sounds of large footsteps. Ghesha smugly followed the druid, followed by the now resigned Y’nnad and the irate Esviel and Marina. It took a minute or two for the two miners, having completed their haul, to notice their absence. Cursing quietly but with a great deal of passion, Knock led Bael’tor into the cavern, instructing Garrick and Bree to remain with the camp.
As the wolven-Cedric silently ghosted through the cavern, having cast a spell of obscuration over himself and his comrades before they left, he caught sight of the hulking figure that shuffled down a vague path; a giant form that appeared to possess two head and conducted a simple conversation with itself as it scratched at the weapon that was embedded in its back. The group that followed Cedric also saw the figure, with Y’nnad noting that it was the weapon that gave off the glow of enchantment that he had spied. A brief, whispered conversation was cut short by the creature taking a series of deep snuff at the air, evidently catching scent of the group. Their options limited, the group decided to shoot first and loot later.
The ettin, for that was what the creature was, did not stand much of a chance, being shot by the rogue, mounted and stabbed through the throat by the pirate and slashed at by the charging Bael’tor. As it bellowed out its frustration, Y’nnad vanished from the group in a puff of mist. As Ghesh looked around frantically for the lf, a ripping sound was heard and the ettin let out a low moan, collapsing onto the ground to reveal Y’nnad standing behind it, having ripped the enchanted axe from its back and letting its lifeblood stream onto the cavern floor.
Knock looked furious at the party, but before any celebrations or recriminations could be had the thudding of feet could be heard, the noises of the fight having carried in the still air, and four ogres charges from the path that the ettin had been taking, furious at the death of their comrade. This fight was great deal more difficult, with many members of the group falling prey to vicious blows from the clubs of the beasts. It was only the spray of grease conjured by Y’nnad that managed to slow them down enough to be laboriously brought low, one by one. Scanning their peripheries in panic, the group was relieved to hear no other creatures drawn to their presence as they quickly made their way back to the camp, although not before Knock made his displeasure with Cedric quite clear. The group fell into a deep slumber overseen by Knock, the travails of the day having taken their toll, but upon awaking Ghesh and Cedric noted that a number of their prized possessions were missing, with a stone-faced Knock seemingly knowledgeable about their disappearance.



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