Debriefing of the Overlook Elder Council
- Guests Eoffram Troyas, Kalad, and Bram Ironfell and council members Itrika Mountainhome, Cadrick Gemviper, and Morgoff Stonefist
- Drow stranger (later identified as Mabus Stormbringer) affiliated with Bram Ironfell
- Approached by Bram Ironfell after the debriefing
- Quested with finding the Lost Mines of Karak Lode
The location of the Karak Lode was known to few even within the clan, and it was thought that all who had such knowledge were lost when the mines were reclaimed by the desert. Even within the clan, Karak is all but forgotten. However, recent events might change that.
The destruction of Sarshan’s operations in Overlook saw the shadar-kai’s many warehouses and transit points raided. In one of those raids, the watch uncovered documents connected to Sarshan’s operations, including an ancient fragment of parchment. On it was written a list of landmarks and bearings for a journey, along with the name of Clan Ironfell. I had never seen this parchment before. However, at the watch’s request, I undertook a bit of research into my family’s archives. If what I discovered there holds true, this parchment holds the directions to the Karak Lode.
Discovering what became of my kin would end a sad chapter in Ironfell history, but that is not my primary motive in seeking your aid. If the Karak Lode can be found, its wealth offers the means to shore up the defenses of Overlook and the Elsir Vale. However, it is anyone’s guess what manner of creatures might lair there, or what defenses the last of the clan left to guard the mines. This is not a job for the city watch, I fear.
- Rich gold, silver, gem, and mithral mine once operated by Clan Ironfell that was lost thousands of years ago. Directions to the mine were found in one of Sarshan’s depots that were raided after the PC’s return from the shadowfell.
- Paid 1000gp up front to find and clear out the mine
- Suspect Bram of sending multiple parties to find the mine OR a party to shadow the Medjay and prevent shenanigans.
- Quested with finding the Lost Mines of Karak Lode
Voyage through the Thornwaste
- Encountered a traveler named Mag Blackthorn who worshiped a powerful lich named the ghost lord
In the distance, you spot something. Slipping through the brush and brambles is a human male in a tattered black coat and leggings. A battered, wide-brimmed hat shrouds his face, his boots held together with coarse twine. He carries a spear in one hand, a leather-bound book in the other
- Ambushed by a group of dwarves from the Hammerfist clan. The Hammerfist’s are bitter rivals to the Ironfell’s. One of the dwarves had a journal that indicated the mine had been discovered months ago.
- The wilderness was difficult to traverse, and exhausted the Medjay, especially Jansen.
The party arrived in Dunesend to find a gnoll (The Warden) with a Behir mount savagely beating a person to death. The Warden was accompanied by several Satyr rogues. Tirali was swallowed whole by the behir and would have been killed were it not for the mighty hammer of Jonoh. Jonoh’s assault set up the Behir for Larson who split open the beasts belly , Killing the Behir and Freeing Tirali. Reinforcements for The Warden arrived only to be slain before they could join the fray by Ajax, Mabus Stormbringer, and Darion DunDee (Human Cleric of Bahamut). A discussion with the village elder, Lotho Elberesk, revealed the following:
Q: What was going on here? Who was that gnoll and those other creatures?
A: That creature was the Warden, a foul tyrant that serves the Queen of the Drylands. The blue worm was his steed and enforcer, and it has slain several among us in recent months. The others were creatures of the Thornwaste in league with the Warden. They are the ones that prevent us from fleeing this place or seeking aid for our plight.
The Warden first appeared from the desert a year ago, stating that Queen Shephatiah had come to reclaim her ancient throne. The name meant nothing to us, but the Warden slew several of our strongest when we stood against him. Now he orders us to pay tribute in goods and food or his blue worm will devour us.
The Warden was here to make his monthly collection of tribute. Poor weather has delayed our crops, but he accused us of holding out. He used poor Vaudnim to set an example for us all.
Q: Where can this Queen Shephatiah be found? Are there more of her followers?
A: The satyrs live within the Thornwaste along the desert frontier. Like the shifter brigands of the desert, they have eagerly pledged themselves to the Warden’s service. The Warden comes always from the desert to the south. Where his queen is, we do not know, but he and his followers carry no more than a few days’ water to get here. A few of our folk tried to follow the Warden’s trail when he first appeared, but they never returned. All I can tell you is that the Warden came once with a shifter who spoke out loud of returning to somewhere called Karak. This creature was soundly beaten by the Warden for his slip.
After a their discussion with Lotho, the paladin and the cleric help bury and give last rites to his son. Jansen, after negotiating with the Cajun halfling inn keeper Bebe, was unable to get rooms for the party. Fortunately, Larson manages to suavely negotiate with Bebe, for rooms for 3 days for the bargain price of 5 gp. The adventurers agree that Ajax, Darion, and Mabus will stay behind and protect the villagers while they prepare to leave this forsaken place while the rest of the Medjay will seek out the mines of Karak Lode.
To Karak Lode we go!
After a nice long rest, Jonoh, Larson, Jansen, and Tirali set off into the desert to find the Lost Mines of Karak Lode . Things are going well and Tirali is able to follow the landmarks indicated by Bram Ironfell’s directions.
On the first day of travel, Larson spots a mound of sand moving in the distance and a cloud of dust rising from the desert in the direction the party is headed. Jonoh dismisses these observations as heat stress. On the second day, Larson spots a dying old women crawling though the sand. The Party rushes to her aid only to be ambushed by three Razorclaw Shifters who were laying in ambush beneath the sand. The old woman turned out to be a howling hag. The party gets off to a great start, slaying one of the raorclaws almost immediately, but the battle takes a turn for the worse when Jonoh gets caught in some soft sand. With Jonoh immobilized, the remaining razorclaw shifters and the howling hag harras and harry Larson and Tirali, nearly killing Larson. The heat had taken its toll on the Larson and Jansen who were having a very difficult time connecting with any of their blows. After a stunning display by Tirali and Pedo bear, the Howling Hag is dispatched and the tides of battle turn to favor the PC’s. After the second Razorclaw shifter is dispatched, the final one turns and flees, only to be cut down by Larson’s Poisoned blade.
As you travel, the intermittent desert landmarks you pass are a perfect match for the course set out by Bram’s directions. These are a scattered series of basalt pillars, the remnants of long-ago volcanic eruptions rising now like sentinels from the sand.
July 12, 2011 - After a short rest, the PC’s notice lighting blasts and a trail of dust over the next dune. They decided to investigate only to see a very unfortunate dwarf running as fast as possible away from a horde of shifters and Satyrs. This poor soul was none other than Bale Lunkhead. After some debate among the part about weather or not they should lend aid, they decided to charge to Bale’s rescue. Just as Jonoh got within striking distance, Bale senses the presence of a strong arcane catalyst, turns around, and lets loose a blast of lightning at his pursuers. Unbeknownst to him, the catalyst is the shattered remains of Kai, a shradmind who has long since been dormant. Kai guides Bale’s lighting bolt through each of the pursuing shifters and Satyrs, vaporizing their bodies to create sufficient free energy and matter to begin reconstructing his body. After everyone catches their breath, Jonoh introduces the party to the new sorcerer, including Tirali who is not visible at the time, but is “just over the hill”. Bale explains that he was sent by Clan Ironfell to locate the lost Mines of Karak Lode, but that his party was loyal to Clan Hammerfist and betrayed him. Zachiel, who’s consciousness still resides in Larson’s Blade after his accident in fortress Rivenroar, senses that Bale is a man of formidable arcane intellect and begins mentally bombarding Larson with questions, criticisms, and requests. Larson, being Larson, gets annoyed and begins verbally berating and arguing with his sword. After Bale questions the sanity of the party for having not one, but two imaginary friends, Jansen decides to investigate what is taking Tirali so long to join up with the party. He turns and starts heading back, only to see Pedo bear smiling and staring at him and motioning for him to “come very closer”. After Pedo Bear realizes that Jansen is taking his time, it flips him off as it slowly disappears. Upon cresting the dune, Jansen discovers that Tirali has been swallowed by the dessert, leaving behind nothing but his helmet and his bag of holding. Jansen returns with no Tirali and immediately asks “So, you don’t happen to be a healer do you?”, further solidifying Bale’s suspicions that the party is indeed, crazy. Desperate to prove that he is not crazy, JJonoh snatches Larson’s sword and thrusts it into Bales hand. Zachiel, who has been yearning for some intelligible conversation for months now, gets so excited that all he can think to do is scream “WIZARD” into Bale’s mind. Not surprisingly, Bale was taken off-guard and reacts by blasting the sword with lightning. The shattered shardmind once again amplifies this energy and draws the lightning toward it, providing it with sufficient energy to complete the reformation of its body from the scattered shards. What Kai did not anticipate is that, the lightning drawn from from Larson’s blade carried Zachiel’s mind with it. As the process of Kai’s reformation completed, Zachiel’s consciousness was imprinted within the shards themselves, forcing Kai and Zachiel to co-habitate the newly formed shardmind body. After some more brief introductions and explanations, the Party decides to continue it’s journey through the desert.
Fortress in the dessert
Following the map the Medjay had been provided with by Bram Ironfell, the party arrives at a stone fortress built into a bassalt cliff just as the sun begins to set.
The course you have been following became a rocky track leading toward another basalt bluff in the distance. However, as the track curves around to its south side, you see two guard towers of hewn stone set into the face of the bluff. Narrow gouges that might be arrow slits flank a narrow track leading directly into the rock. Though worn by long years of sand and wind, the towers are clearly of dwarven construction, standing as strong as the day they were built.
The fortress appears very defensible and shadowy figures are visible behind arrow slits in the wall. After a short tactical discussion, the party decides that it would be best if Jonoh walked up to the front door by himself while everyone else tries to stay out of site. After painstakingly sneaking about and careful positioning, Larson discovers that the shadowy figures are nothing more than straw figures in armor with weapons lashed to their arms. Bale and Jansen meanwhile, thinking they are being super sneaky, manage to position themselves against the cliff face right outside one of the arrow slits. Thinking they have the guards ousted, they both get ready to unleash hell on the poor bastards inside the watch tower. It is at this time that ZachKai decides to teleport into the eastern guardhouse to find a way to let the party in. He finds himself alone, in a dark guardhouse with straw dummies, and a very angry troglodyte mauler. His girlish cries alert the rest of the Medjay that he is in trouble and Jansen and Jonoh rush to open a large steel door to help their companion. Unfortunately, once the Paladin and the Barbarian reach the large door, a portcullis falls, trapping them in a 10’x 20’ area. At that point, four murder holes in the ceiling open and start raining javelins and magic blasts from above, instantly impaling both the dwarves and immobilizing and hexing the paladin. Larson and Bale attempt to pin down the troglodyte assaulting ZachKai so he can escape but it becomes clear that the shardmind will be unable to escape and will have to stand his ground. Kai launches a shard of his body and morphs it into a shard savage to help fend off the Troglodyte as Bale hurries away to help Jonoh and Jansen. After the trapped dwarves are bombarded with six javelins and three magic blasts from the murder holes and after three failed attempts by Bale to return fire, Bale summons his trusty Jade Macetail, Spikey to block the incoming attacks. Spikey is able to not only block several more javelins and magic blasts, but also destroys the portcullis trapping Jonoh and Jansen and collapses the ceiling with the murder holes causing two troglodyte impalers and a troglodyte chanter to crash to the ground. The distraction caused by the commotion allows the dwarves to get the door in front of them open only to reveal a new troglodyte mauler. Meanwhile, Zachiel and the shard savage under the control of Kai are able to position their assailing troglodyte mauler to allow Larson to get off a kill shot. Larson and Zachiel are then able to refocus their attention to help the rest of the party. With ZachKai no longer in danger and with the troglodytes previously defending from behind the murder holes now in the open, the tide of battle quickly turns. Jansen, hurting from being impaled by three javelines, and Bale who was apparently preoccupied with controlling spikey, were unable to do much damage, but Jansen managed to prevent the troglodyte impalers and chanter from moving to better positions while Larson, ZachKai, Jonoh, and Spikey made short work of the rest of the fortress defenders.
August 2, 2011 - With a renewed sense of caution, the Medjay begin to explore the ancient dwarven stronghold. The party first enters a vast two story chamber featuring doors in each cardinal direction and a hole in the ceiling. Over the years, sand had blown in through the hole in the ceiling and accumulated in a pile near the southeastern corner of the room. Jonoh and Larson made note of several arrow slits facing the room from the second floor and the party quickly decided that loitering in this area would probably not be a good idea. The adventurers decided they would burst through the eastern door, hoping to take any enemies by surprise. The Medjay readied themselves for action, which included Bale and Kai bravely hiding behind Spikey. Jonoh kicked down the door and Larson and Jansen burst through to anticlimactically find a huge empty room. After a bit of exploration, Kai was able to determine that these were once used as stables. A few scattered scales indicated that this was now the roost of a Behir, most likely the Warden’smount which the party encountered in Dunesend. A room to the north housed a supply of iron ore while another which Jansen was able to identify as the stable masters quarters had likely been used by The Warden. Bale, feeling slightly embarrassed at having hid behind Spikey the last time a new door was opened, decided to thrust open the last remaining unopened door only to reveal a very well used and unkept latrine, causing the party to vacate the area post haste. The adventurers returned to the center room and decided to go through the northern entrance. After careful positioning, Jonoh Lightbringer again decided to thrust the door open and for the second time that night, had his confidence in sturdy dwarven craftsmanship reinforced. Much to the dismay of his now sore shoulder, the door did not budge. Much to embarrassment of Jonoh’s, Larsonunlatched the door and opened it with ease, revealing a corridor with another double door on the opposite end and two arrow holes inset into the walls. During a heated discussion on if it would be better for the Rogue to look for traps or if it would just save time, effort, and energy for the Paladin to be a good sport and anything that lurked in the hall, Spikey became excited and happily trotted into the corridor. Fortunately, no traps were triggered by the dinosaur and the party entered the corridor to find a grove of Sussur trees growing within the rooms behind the arrow slits. Knowing that this was strange, Kai and Zachiel began inspecting the arcane energies of the area to discover that these trees were feeding off on a vein of elemental energy originating somewhere beneath the compound. Midway through a short horticulture lesson, the Barbarian decided that he would rather face whatever was on the other side of the door than continue to listen to the shardmind’s dissertation on the phenomena of underdark photosynthesis. The party was quite surprised when the door opened to reveal a stunningly attractive Eladrin female atop a throne in the middle of an audience chamber.
The heavy scent of decay is sharp here. Strange trees with silver-gray bark and gnarled branches rise almost to the ceiling, their thick roots punching down into the stone of the floor. Atop a dais to the north, an eladrin female sits upon an ornate throne. Five human brigands and a shifter warrior stand between you and the throne, moving to attack.
With a surprising display of charisma, the barbarian apologizes for the intrusion and introduces himself and thee party. The eladrin identifies herself as Queen Shephatia and demands that the party leave her palace imediatly or face the consequences. After a few failed attempts by the paladin and the barbarian to be charming, Larson steps forward to try his hand with the lovely lady. Larson, being fey, had much more success and is promply invited by the Eladrin into a private chamber where the two of them can “negotiate” for the Medjay’s passage. Having never been invited anywhere by a woman, the Drow became instantly uneasy and requests that his trusty dwarven companion, Jonoh, join him in the negotiations. After a creepily kinky smile, the eladrin agrees and leeds the two Medjay into a private room. Once the three are “safely” behind a locked door, the eladrin pours the dwarves some wine and begins discussing the party’s quest. After a few short pleasantries, the Eladrin begins making advances on Larson. As soon as Larson rejects her, she flew into a fit of rage, lighting the room on fire and teleporting out of the room. This was about the time that Larson started to feel like the encounter with the woman was a little more normal. [[:jonoh | Jonoh], having been ousted by doors twice that day already, is determined not to be foiled a third time and with great gusto throws the door from its hinges. The rest of the party, in the meantime, had been formulating a plan if things were to go south, which is typically the outcome when Larson talks to a lady. Upon hearing Jonoh’s cries of “That bitch is evil”, Zachiel and Jansen leep into action. Bale’s storm magic empowers hit first spell, instantly frying his target and allowing him to fly into one of the sussur trees where he can safely launch bolts of lightning outside the reach of the melee combatants below. It was at this point that two hyena’s came charging in from the other side of the room. Upon escaping the burning room, Jonoh and Larson join their companions in melee and, with Bale’s artillery support, make quick work of their foes. Without warning, the eladrin appears next to Bale in the branches of the sussur tree. Fortunately for Bale, his armor of repulsion is able to force the eladrin out of the tree, causing her to tumble to the ground. Much to Bale’s dismay, the eladrin transforms into a copy of him as it fell out of the trees and screams “Theres something in the tree!!!”. Luckily for Bale, Larson’s keen senses are able to pick out subtle differences in the clothes, posture, and voice of the Bale that fell from the tree and the Bale he had seen earlier and he Larson yells “It’s a shapeshifter! shoot the one on the ground”. With the eladrin’s illusions pierced, it was not long until the axe of Jansen hewed the shapeshifter, revealing the true form to be that of a dryad. After a short rest and ample teasing from the dwarves about how Larson was attracted to wood (Is being fey a choice, or was Larson born that way?), the party continues up the stairs to the north to explore the upper level of the dwarven fortress.
August 9, 2011 -The upper level of the complex is, thankfully, completely vacant. After exploring the entire upstairs area, Larson descends silently into a darkened barracks where a handful of humans rested. With a superb display of stealth and cunning, Larson, with the aid of the two casters, is able to dispatch all the foes in the room without any of the humans waking up. Larsoncontinues on outside the room and makes quick work of the pair of humans in the hallway outside the barracks. The rest of the party moves to catch up with Larson, except for Spikey who is too large to fit down the small stairway. Although the rest of the party is ready to move on, Bale “convinces” (cough Faulty Memory cough) Jonoh that going back the way they came would only take 30 seconds and would be a tactically wise decision since it would allow Spikey to continue to follow the party. Despite the protests of the rest of the party, the paladin and the sorcerer double back while the barbarian, rouge, and artificer wait at the barracks. After 15 minuets of “its just around this corner”, Jonoh and Bale finally arrive at the courtyard that leads to the rest of the party. Unfortunately, Jonoh’s frustration at his “30 second” walk leeds him to carelessness. As he gruffly marches over the sand pile in the center of the room, he is caught by surprise as a Carrion Crawler hungrily bursts from the sand and paralyzes him with its tentacles, allowing the beast to turn its full attention to the tasty, tasty sorcerer perched atop the jade dinosaur. The sound of Jonoh’s explitive shouts at Bale alerts the rest of the party that something is amiss in the room next door and awakens a quartet of harpies, who hungrily swooped down to carry off the armorless dwarf fighting the Carrion Crawler. After a grand attempt by Bale to ward away the harpies fails, the flying creatures swarm him, severely injuring him. Infuriated that a door is standing between him and combat, the barbarian flys into a rage and bashes the door open. In a matter of seconds, the flurry of the revenant’s axes slays three harpies and cripples the carrion crawler and the remaining harpie. After Larson and Zachiel dispatch the remaining enemies, the party decides that, it is best if they takes a short breather so that Jansen can calm down.
August 16, 2011 - After the party is no longer afraid that Jansen is going to kill anything he sees, the party proceeds down the only unexplored area of the dungeon. As the party proceeds down the stairs near the barracks, Larson notices that the shiny belt on the dwarven statue at the end of the stairwell is actually an iron cobra. With careful planning, the Medjay are able to avoid activating the iron cobra and they proceed into a waiting area for a dungeon. The party is greeted by two longtooth shifters who are hopelessly outmatched and are quickly dispatched. After a short rest, the party continues exploring the lower level until they come to a crypt with various glowing runes enscribed on the doors. Upon close examination, Bale determines that the runes can be activated by rubbing ones bare ass on the seal. The Medjay look on in disgust as Bale drops his drawers and begins rubbing his ass against the crypt walls. Much to the surprise of the party, Bale is able to activate the arcane symbols and relive portions of the memories of the deceased. Bale discovers that the dwarves buried within this crypt were predominantly miners and artisans who worked in this very fortress. Bale sees visions of vast shipments of ore and minerals in loaded wagons and carts departing from this facility into the desert. With the exception of a few lapses in his concentration, which result in a sharp jolt from the arcane symbols, Bale is able to unlock each of the symbols. upon opening one of the tombs, Bale is ambushed by a lesser Berbalang. This foul creature immediately replicates and begins assailing the party with psychic manifestations of itself and sews chaos into the ranks of the party, making Jonoh’s job of protecting the squishys even more difficult than usual. Every time it seems the berbaland is near death, the beast would absorb one of its copies and gain strength only to immediately manifest another duplicate. After a prolonged and very arduous battle, Jonoh is finally able to land a killing blow on the Berbalang and the psychic manifestations of the monster vanish.
October 05, 2011 - After making sure that no more of the dwarven crypts were being defiled, Jonoh blesses his deceased kin and the party continues to explore the lower levels of the dwarven keep. The party cautiously proceeds with their task of clearing the fortress when they stumble across a detention area:
This ancient dungeon shows signs of recent use, with scuff marks along the floor indicating traffic in both directions. Four large cells stand in the center of the chamber, the entrance of each blocked by a lowered portcullis controlled by a nearby winch and pulley. From the darkness ahead comes a bright chirping sound.
When the party investigates, they discover that the southwest cell is occupied by a seemingly recently incarcerated human male wearing the garb of a simple desert peasant. He is accompanied by seven yellow canaries which perch on his shoulders and hop around his cell. The birdman’s face is wrinkled with age and sports a snow-white beard to match his fringe of hair. When the party approaches the birdman, he takes notice of them, but says nothing. Jonoh immediately senses that this man has a profound divine aura about him, but is not able to discern the source or cause of this aura. Jonoh and Bale attempt to converse with the birdman, but he simply smiles and nods to them, refusing to speak a word. Jonoh, suspecting that this holy man has taken a vow of silence, asks the birdman if he knows the way to the mine. With a smile the birdman offers an affirmative nod. With barely contained excitement, Jonoh asks the old man to lead them to the entrance of the mine. The old man smiles, rises to his feet and begins walking through the fortress. As the party approaches the courtyard where they fought the Carrion Crawler and the harpies, they hear the the howling of wind and from the hole in the ceiling see a sandstorm raging outside. It is at this time that the familiar cursing of Ajax can be heard from the southern entrance as the dwarf and Darion DunDee come stumbling into the room bleeding from the multiple small abrasions from the storm outside. The party catches Ajax up to speed on the disappearance of Tirali and introduces him and Darion to Bale. Ajax informs the rest of the party that he and Darion had finished clearing the village and surrounding area of any threats when they noticed Arcane lighting on the horizon. With the two unable to find Mabus, they feared the worst for him and/or the rest of the party and made haste into the desert. After nearly two days of travel, they were caught in a sandstorm, but were able to find their way to this fortress. While the adventurers are talking, the birdman continues on his walk and begins to walk out into the sandstorm. Bale attempts to run after him, but is not able to get far before Ajax stops him. The party watches in amazement as the birdman and his canaries continue on, apparently un-impeded by the powerful winds.
Into the Mine
It is obvious that the adventurers will need to wait out the storm and so the party chooses to rest in the quarters on the upper level. Ajax and Jonoh decide to stand guard in the Northern Overlook (area 19) to allow the others to get a solid nights rest. Larson, being fey, goes into a trance near the two dwarves to recuperate his strength and help watch over the others. Jansen and Zachiel sleep in the center quarters and Darion sleeps in the western quarters. Although Darion offers to allow Bale to share a quarters with him, Bale politely declines and chooses to sleep in the eastern quarters by himself. The sand storm rages for the entire night as Jonoh, Ajax, and Larson stand guard and exchange stories.
After around eight hours, a canary appears in one of the windows overlooking the courtyard and begins fluttering about chirping as though agitated. Larson’s keep hearing detects the faint sounds of motion outside the windows. As he peers out the window he barely makes out the silhouettes of a pair of creatures through the windows on the eastern side of the overlook. Larson signals to Ajax and Jonoh who take up flanking positions along the windows as Larson aims his crossbow at the window. As if on cue, the canary jets out of the window just as a cavern choker comes through the window. The familiar THWOK of Larson’s crossbow followed by the battle cries of the two dwarven defenders awakens the rest of the party. Three cavern chokers attempt to crawl in through the windows as the Ajax and Jonoh force them back. Another cavern choker rounds the eastern corner and engages Larson in melee and a fifth cave choker and a single troglodyte curse chanter enter the door to the east. Bale bursts out of his room and blasts one of the cave chokers which is barely able to keep from falling out of the window thanks to its suction cup arms. Jansen throws the door to his room open and Zachiel rushes out to aid his companions. The troglodyte seizes the opportunity to assault the newly revealed shardmind and revenant and blasts them as the two cavern chokers engaging jonoh attempt to break off and focus down the revenant. Jonoh is able to stop one of them, blasting it with radiant energy as it attempts to assault his allies, however, the other is able to drag Jansen into one of the rooms. Ajax, sees his companions in danger and pushes the cavern choker engaging Larson back, allowing the drow to dash over and dispatch the choker engaging the shardmind with a series of slashes from his broadsword. Knowing that Jansen could defeat a lone cavern choker, the two dwarven defenders coordinate to protect the two casters, prevent anything from getting in or out of the room with Jansen, and provide Larson with the support he needed to “do his rogue thing”. As Bale and Zachiel exchange blasts with the troglodyte caster, their dwarven defenders are able to keep the remaining chokers occupied.
The foiled ambush is over almost as quickly as it began and as the Medjay dispatch the last of their foes, Jansen burst out of the room pushing a cavern choker all the way back and out the window. Just as the battle seems over, a trio of new cavern chokers appears in the window and pulls the barbarian out into the storm. The rest of the medjay quickly try to follow, but the way is blocked by the two remaining chokers. After dispatching these foes, Bale screams “We have to go after him”. While the rest of the party tries to explain that leaping out of a 30 foot window is probably not a good way to help their friend, Ajax grabs the sorcerer, and with a fierce battle cry leaps from the window, ready to bear the impact of the fall. Much to his surprise, the sorcerer is able to cast a spell which allows the two of them to float down to the ground. With the storm in full swing, visibility is cut down to a matter of feet and sand cuts into the dwarves skin. Ajax shields Bale so that he can attempt to track the chokers, but all Bale sees are two slain chokers and a trail of blood leading out the eastern door. The dwarves follow the blood trail back to the prison where the birdman was found to discover a mineshaft which had previously been hidden. Without hesitation, Bale activates his everburning torch and leaves it topside as a sign for the rest of the party to follow. Ajax boards a the raised wooden platform and once Bale joins him, begins lowering the platform as fast as possible. The rest of the party reaches the entrance to the mine just as Bale and Ajax reach the bottom and discover that they have no light. Jonoh tosses the everburning torch down the mineshaft so that Zachiel and Larson can leap down just as Ajax begins chastising Bale for leaving their last light source at the top of the mine shaft. Bale responds with “Just give me a second and I’ll get us some light” right as the torch lands, prompting Ajax to reply with “You are possibly the best magician i have ever seen”.
Once they can see the ground, Kai’s body shatters into thousands of crystals which fly down the mineshaft and reassemble at the bottom. Larson gracefully leaps down and rolls as he lands at the bottom of the shaft. Jonoh, not so gracefully attempts to slide down the rope but begins going to fast, so Ajax smashes off a portion of the platform below to act as a counter weight and slow his descent. Ajax attempts to catch his ironclad friend and the two unceremoniously crash to the ground in a heap of iron, dust, and dwarf.
After dusting themselves off and regaining their composure, Larson volunteers to take point. As he rounds the first corner, he spies a group of troglodytes beyond a portcullis. He barely makes out a series of imprints on the wall which is able to identify as a dwarven poison dart trap. The barely distinguishable glint of a taught tripwire catches his eye just before the portcullis. He attempts to disarm the trap just as the troglodytes notice him. Bale hears the alarmed cries of the troglodytes, reaches into his cloak, and swallows something he grabbed from his pocket. He then transforms into the troglodyte curse chanter the party had dispatched in the overlook and walks around the corner where he pretends to club Larson. Larson acts as though the blow knocked him unconscious and falls to his feet. Bale lifts the drow onto his shoulder and calls out to the other troglodytes “I got him! help me get the others”. The troglodytes fall for the ruse and the leader laughs “good work! Take him to the queen with the other” as he raises the portcullis and he and two others walk around the corner. As soon as they round the corner, the Medjay spring their trap. Bale flings the drow from his shoulder as the rouge draws and fires his hand crossbow, Zachiel Blasts the leader, and the defenders move in to prevent the troglodytes from advancing or falling back. The troglodyte guardians fight to the death, calling in reinforcements from within the mine and even setting off the trap as the adventurers begin to win the battle. Although Ajax is pelted a number of times by the poison darts, the party is able to emerge mostly unharmed.
After the battle, the party notices something which Zachiel recognizes as residual contamination from the elemental chaos:
Within the damp gray stone of the cavern walls, a faint light pulses. On close examination, you see veins of dark red twisting through the stone of the walls and ceiling, glowing with a dull light.
The Medjay continue to chase after their comrades kidnapper:
Recent tracks along the main passageway lead you on. The central caverns you pass through show signs of recent mining activity, though on a much smaller scale than the dwarves’ operations of old. Here and there, dwarf skeletons are strewn across the rocky ground, rusted weapons lying nearby. The dwarves of Karak appear to have slain each other in the end. Oddly, however, many of the skeletons appear to be missing their skulls.
A vast gallery opens up here where the dwarves of Ironfell once worked, their long-rotted bodies now scattered before you. The rickety remains of ancient ladders and carts are spread across the cavern. One prominent vein of the strange, red-glowing stone crosses this chamber’s floor and climbs its walls, its cold light pulsing brightly.
Upon seeing this gallery, Larson and Ajax decide to venture ahead of the party. As the two adventurers creep forward Larson hears creatures in a side passage to the north and notices the shaggy head of a large beast looking over a rock outcropping in his direction. Ajax steps onto the glowing rocks and feels faint. He warns Larson and helps lift him over the rocks. As soon as Larson is on the other side safely, Ajax moves out of the glowing rocks. To the two dwarves horror:
A rustling in the rubble reveals a gray-skinned hand grasping the air. A bearded face follows, the animated corpse of a long-dead dwarf lurching to its feet. A cold mist flows from between its black teeth.
From some rubble in the corner, a swarm of bloodweb spiders advance towards the pair of dwarves and a pair of Carrion Crawlers emerge from the area where Larson had previously heard movement. At the site of the spiders, Larson is reminded of his drow heritage and becomes visibly agitated. As Ajax calls for support, he engages the zombie and attempts to put as much distance between himself and the spider swarm as possible. The swarm quickly engulfs Ajax as he unsuccessfully attempts to cut their numbers. Fortubatly for Ajax, the two casters are able to blanket the area around ajax with spells and Jonoh is able to charge in and finish them off and draw the attention of the carrion crawlers and the zombie. Jonoh’s rematch with the carrion crawler does not go very well, however, and the two creatures continually sting the paladin with their tentacles, injecting the dwarf with massive doses of poison. In an attempt to buy his ally some time, Ajax channels Kords might and draws all the enemies to him and forces them to engage him. Jonoh calls for the party to fall back into the tunnel so the two dwarves can manage the front line when a demonic laugh reverberates through the tunnel:
Barlgura: “Run away, it is too late for your friend, and soon it will be too late for you too”
From around the corner charges a massive demon, who leaps at Jonoh and unleashes a barrage that would have crushed the paladin were it not for his shield. Bale targets the demon, but as soon as the lightning strikes the beast, its ties to the elemental chaos activate and it absorbs the lightning blast. Ajax attacks are similarly blunted due to the beasts resistance to lightning. Jonoh is forced to focus on keeping the demon ocupied while the rest of the party dispatches the zombie and one of the carrion crawlers. With the paladin enduring the constant attacks by the remaining carrion crawler and the Barlgura and with the other enemies dispatched, Ajax is able to charge the remaining Carrion Crawler while Larson slips behind the Demon and the casters shell the enemies from range. With Larson behind the Demon, the Barlgura falls quickly and the Carrion Crawler follows shortly thereafter.