Mysteries & Myths

Return to the Black Lake (Episode 25)

Badger’s Journal
Entry #1
Everyone seemed ready to prepare themselves to return to the Black Lake below, until I pointed out that there was one passageway yet unexplored. It was difficult to make our way through it because the river was running through the entire thing, but it was an unexplored section and who knows what was within. Much debate followed regarding if we should even bother exploring it. All I could think of was why start mining a shaft of ore if you are not going to take it all out of the ground. Since I still had the strange ability to fly that Moonglum had given me we decided that Jacare and I would fly over, I’d leave him and I would return for the rest. Why risk the rivers current. Unfortunately there were several creatures waiting our arrival. Just as we rounded the corner volleys of spears came flying out from two separate passageways. Several found there mark and we quickly retreated. The debate began again. In the end we decided to take a brief rest, regroup and make an assault on the creatures waiting within.

Entry #2
After regrouping we prepared to make our way back around the passageway and attack in full force. Yes! An actual full on assault of the enemy. I would fly our party across one at a time and after no more than half a minute we should all be there. Jacare volunteered to go first and hold the line while I brought reinforcement. All in all, I would say it went about as well as might be expected. We knew that we would be fighting on two fronts and expected some possible injuries. I dropped off Jacare and he charged into the main chamber on the west side. Of course, each time I was bringing one of the party over it seemed that the air was filled with spears flying at us. Varis flew over with us in the first wave, though I have no idea how he did that? He then charged in with Jacare. Moonglum was next, and quickly snuck in behind Jacare, who had backed out a little bit, as more spears came flying at me, while I go back for Benus and Swiftwind. By the time I returned with Benus, who charged into the western passage, Swiftwind had climbed the precariously slippery edge of the rock formations to make her way over to the small landing on the western edge. Since I could fly I decided enough was enough with these damned spears flying in from the east and headed that way. With Swiftwind backing me up with her bow we made quick work of the few troglodytes that were attempting to attack us from behind. After that I headed into the main western chamber only to find that the assault was over. The bodies of barely clothed troglodytes littered the floor as well as the corpses of a large pale troglodyte, two troglodytes in plate mail armor, and an incredibly large lizard. It appears that I was simply the cart that lead all of my companions to a glorious battle. At least after a quick search we discovered much coin, mostly silver, and some potions of great value. It now seemed that we were ready to prepare for our return to the Black lake below.

Entry #3
Our preparations took longer than expected. It took us two days to finally get Benus and me feeling ourselves again. We had been ill since entering those flooded chambers just south of the Gitterhame. After that we were ready to confront the black dragon below. We made our way to the chasm that fell to the depths of its lair and stared down, steeling ourselves for battle. We decided to let Moonglum assist most of the party down the long chasm to the lake with some sort of magical power that let the group float down. I decided to climb the ladder, why waste a perfectly good ladder? We had a plan to make our way towards the western shore of the lake and then regroup to make our final preparations but apparently the dragon had different ideas in store for us. Much like our first encounter our progress was abruptly interrupted by the dragon quickly poking his head out of the water and spewing acid at several of us.
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All hell broke loose and it wasn’t until I had retreated around the corner to the west that I found Moonglum heading towards Jacare, who had hidden in a corner. Jacare has seemed most unnerved by this beast both times we’ve encountered it now. I wasn’t sure what was happening to the rest of the group around the corner so I urged Moonglum to give me the ability to fly again, which he did, and I raced off back to where I had seen the great black beast before. It wasn’t but a moment later that Jacare came flying, literally, around the corner behind me carrying Moonglum. We saw the group ahead so we decided it was finally time to press the attack on this vexing creature that had eluded us so much in the past. As Benus, Varis and Swiftwind made there way to the shore I flew close to them, waiting for the creature to show himself again and engage it. Jacare and Moonglum flew past us and headed towards what we thought may be it’s lair across the lake. As I hovered above them we saw an explosion of fire and the familiar smell of sulfur deeper to the east in the lake, and not but a moment later the beast surfaced and spewed forth it’s acid breath upon Benus, Varis and Swiftwind, and then quickly disappeared into the water again.
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A few moments later, off to the east, across the lake I heard the distinct sound of something dropping into a pile of coins. And soon after, the angry shriek of the beast as it headed to what I assumed was its pile of treasure, and whoever had disturbed it! If it was Jacare and Moonglum that did so I hope they will survive. I had other things to do at the time though. With Benus at the shore and no way to continue to the east I picked him up and flew him over to another ledge that allowed him to at least see the small island that Jacare and Moonglum had landed on. Apparently they had found the dragons treasure, and the beast was none too happy. The next few moments were a blur. I was about to fly over and engage the dragon, but it targeted Moonglum and after nearly killing him it flung him into the water like a rag doll. Jacare stood against the beast alone now. Swiftwind was firing arrows as fast as she could, Benus and Varis were trying to get over to engage. I saw Jacare being viciously attacked by the beast and Moonglum being swept downstream. Fight the beast or rescue a companion? I had no choice, I had to rescue Moonglum. I recall how difficult it was to get out of the currents of this underground lake and I didn’t see any way that the thin little elf was going to get himself out. I quickly made my way to him, got him to shore and raced back to Jacare, hoping he was still alive. The battle finally seemed to turn in our favor. The dragon would not leave it’s treasure, and so it was exposed. Arrows flew in from Swiftwind, I finally had a chance to attack and sliced a huge chunk out of its side, a thunderous crash slammed into it as I heard Benus chanting, blue darts of some strange fire seemed to come from where I had dropped off Moonglum, piercing the scales of the beast. And finally……the beast collapsed. It was dead.

Entry #4
The treasure that we found! Amazing! Much wealth of coin but it was the weapons, many with Durgeddin’s mark upon them. It was amazing. But then there was that book that Moonglum was inspecting. It gave me pause. Why nail a dessicated tongue to a book? Why take a book like that? Why does that little elf seem to need to look and read and touch everything strange he comes across? These are things I will never know.

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The Stench (Episode 24)

Swiftwind’s Journal
Entry #1
Having explored nearly all of the complex, and not sure if we dared venture back to the Black Lake, we decided to investigate the remaining passageways of the Glitterhame that had been blocked off with a crude wall made of rocks and some sort of mud mortar. It didn’t take Badger too long to knock out an opening for us and we proceeded into the dark cavern ahead. That damned river flowed through this chamber as well making getting across to the other side a dangerous challenge. However, Moonglum incanted some strange words and touched Badger on the head. Badger could then fly! After a few moments he had carried us all across the river and we began to advance. I noticed the stench just a moment before I noticed the javelins flying towards me. Two of them found there mark and I thought perhaps this was the end of me. But just as I thought I might lose consciousness a strange sensation filled my being and my wounds miraculously were healed. Benus had used whatever strange power he possessed to aid me. We all advanced and quickly dispatched five Troglodytes before they could do much more damage to us. Aside from them the chamber was mostly empty, except for another blocked passage. We moved to that and let Badger get to work on making us an entrance.
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Entry #2
After a short time Badger had made a small entrance. He began to climb through and quickly backed out. He warned us that the low narrow passage ahead was filled with the foul smelling lizard folk and resonated with the shrill sound of chirping. Both sides played a game of cat and mouse launching ranged attacks through the narrow entrance. It seemed a stale mate until Moonglum rushed up and called upon his arcane arts again. He rained down a fiery death of fire into the narrow passage. Badger quickly rushed in and the remaining creatures fled deeper within. Three passages lay beyond and we moved to explore them, leaving a guard to watch the intersection so we would not be ambushed from behind.

Entry #3
We soon found the source of the chirping. The first chamber was some sort of nursery and was filled with the younglings of these lizards folk. Some females were there as well. All of the beasts were huddled against the back wall, frightened. A debate ensued about what to do with them. Apparently Moonglum became impatient and said for us to check the other two hallways and he would guard them. We had just rounded the corner to explore the other passages when a familiar smell of sulfur and a flash of fire came from the nursery. Moonglum rounded the corner and joined us. When asked what happened he simply said, they moved. Sometimes I wonder about him. The rest of the area proved to be nothing more than a disgusting pile of rotted food and makeshift litters. This was apparently were this tribe of Troglodytes lived. Now that we have explored the entirety of the Glitterhame we must decide if we leave with what information and treasure we have found or we descend back into the depths and face the menacing Black dragon below. It seemed the consensus was to confront the beast. I checked my quiver, tightened my bowstring and looked to my companions and said only one thing. Lle desiel?

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Expecting the Unexpected (Episode 23)

Varis’ Journal
Entry #1
Having decided to explore the rest of what seemed to be the main living and working complex of this great fortress we headed out. It proved to be at times most uneventful and at other times most harrowing. Many of the rooms we found appeared to have been either storage or barracks of some sorts. Some contained nothing but the rubble of years gone past, others were virtual empty. At one point we discovered that one of the ancient dwarves, a priest of sorts, had reanimated several objects and corpses to serve as the final defenses against the orcs. But some of the things we found were simply some of the strangest things I have seen in my many years.

Entry #2
One of the first strange things we found was in a small ante-chamber with a pool of clear water. As Jacare entered the room a moaning began to be heard throughout the room. Then a misty apparition appeared with a horrifying visage. The fear was palpable in the room as this strange creature engulfed Jacare. I believe that the fates were with us that day. We dealt with this terrifying creature, but I have the sense that some great dread could have befallen us if we hadn’t dealt with it quickly.

Not long after that we found a ancient dwarven temple hidden behind a set of secret doors. The strange thing was, besides all the skeletal remains, was the skeletal dwarf lying upon an alter, and the leathery remains of an orc kneeling before it. Weary from our last encounter we were not sure if we should proceed when the bones littering the floor pulled together to form two large skeletal warriors and the undead orc turned to face us. After a brief regrouping we decided to press on and charge the enemy. It turned out we were fretting a bit too much, as we make quick work of the enemies, however, we now needed to rest badly. We set up a watch order and hunkered down for the night, if it was night, I’ve lost track at this point.

Entry #3
As we continued to explore we found one room with six skeletal dwarves that attacked us, but we dealt with them very quickly. After defending an entire town from an undead invasion they proved to be a good workout after our rest. It was the next room that held a surprise for us. It was a simple room with only a bed and a desk in it, but when Badger and I entered the very floor itself suddenly sprang to life and enveloped us. This strange beast was squeezing the life out of us, but we managed to escape. After a quick retreat and regrouping we were able to kill the thing, but not without it nearly ending Moonglum.

We then found what must have been the armory, by the looks of the practice dummies and broken weaponry littering the floor. The odd thing was when two sword and a shield floated up and actually attacked us. Aside from the initial shock we quickly dealt with them.

Entry #4
Our greatest surprise was in one of the last rooms we searched, a library of sort. It wasn’t the library that was strange, it was the woman sitting in it that gave us pause. She claimed to be a prisoner of some wizard. We thought perhaps it was the dwarven arcanist we had killed earlier, but none of us could be sure. Something just didn’t seem right about the entire thing. But Moonglum insisted that we needed to help her. When she asked if she could at least be let out of the room he quickly rushed to the first door he was near and said, of course, come this way. Several of us sensed that something wasn’t right, but the two of them entered the small room and disappeared from our view briefly. It was when Moonglum came back out of the doorway muttering under his breath, and looking as if the very life had been drained out of him that our hesitation was warranted. All he said was that she had kissed him and then disappeared with a flash in her eyes saying she would spare him for his kindness. The wonders of this place will never cease to amaze me.

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Nightscale! (Episode 22)

Jacare’s Journal
Entry #1
I’m not sure what Moonglum was thinking but any chance of parley was now hopelessly lost. After we dealt with the dark skinned dwarven escort we regrouped and headed south towards the continuous sound of the hammers working. It didn’t take long and we entered a large furnace room with three great forges. At one of them 3 more of the dark dwarves worked the anvil while a fourth oversaw the process. I tried to act casual about the entire affair and acted like we belonged, approaching the group. That didn’t go well as the apparent leader took immediate offense and cursed at me in some foreign tongue. We quickly engaged the enemy and the leader simply vanished from sight. Not long after a small company of reinforcements arrived and we were hard pressed to keep the advantage. Eventually we came to realize that the reinforcements were merely an illusion. Apparently the leader was some sort of arcanist. When we focused our attention on the true enemy we made short work of them. That’s when we found the huge hole leading deep below into a giant chasm. I never did care for heights, but Moonglum assured me we would be fine. And so, we descended.

Entry #2
We explored this natural cave area for some time. All we found were some odd tracks, somewhat like an alligator, but much larger. Some of us speculated, could a dragon live down here? We tried to lure out whatever this creature was, but to no avail. Eventually we backtracked to another section of the cavern and that’s when all hell broke loose. Just as we had jumped across a damaged bridge, with Badger in the lead, a large Black dragon erupted from the lake.
Black dragon
Entry#3
I have not often felt fear in my life, but at that moment it was if I was transported back in time to that horrible night. I was helping my father work the small forge on our farm, repairing horseshoes when suddenly an arrow sunk into his chest. Out in the field four brigands were advancing on our farm. With the life draining from his eyes he looked to me and yelled, RUN. Just as I ran that night with the fear filling my entire being I ran now. A horrible sense of dread filled me when the scaled beast emerged and I ran as if the fires of hell were on my heels. Everything became a blur, as if I was flying back up the deep chasm we had descended until I finally found myself back in the great furnace room. Soon I saw Badger, who was soaking wet come flying, yes flying, up out of the chasm carrying Moonglum. Not long after, Benus, who was also flying, came up carrying Varis. Apparently Swiftwind had already come up, but I don’t know how or when. With that we retreated to the great columned hall and I finally began to feel myself again. And, just like those many years ago I swore that I would confront my fear. Those brigands were the first men that I hunted down, and this dragon would be the first dragon that I hunted down. I would pick the time at my choosing however. For now at least we decided we would explore more of the fortress on this level and wait to descend into the deep again.

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The Foundry (Episode 20)

Varis’ Journal
Entry #1
Tanya awra! I recall some hard days of training with my master, but the bruises that I have after that tentacled thing nearly killed us all surpass any I sustained in training. But just as the force of the water will always overcome the stone, we threw our might upon this strange creature and lived. Perhaps more disturbing than that experience was when Moonglum decided that if this thing had nearly killed all of us it may well have killed other victims, and so we should search it. How do you search a beast that looks like a ten foot tall stalagmite with tentacles you ask? Apparently you take out the enchanted blade that Badger had given to Moonglum and you gut it like a fish. Strangely enough, Moonglum actually found a strange bone ring mixed within the innards of this horrible beast. He spent some time examining the thing and after a strange look came over his face, he slipped it onto his finger and returned to his books that he carries with him. We set up a watch for the night and didn’t even venture from the ledge. We figured it was the safest place to try and regroup ourselves.

Entry #2
After several hours of uneasy rest, we finally continued on. There was but one door left to explore to the NE before we headed back the way we came to the glittering cavern. That proved rather uneventful, but for a short respite of competitive sport between our own group. After searching for any age-old traps we continued through the door. We discovered what proved to be a jail area with three cells, a jailors key, and another key on the skeletal corpse of a armored, female dwarf as well as a purse with several platinum pieces. Jacare kept the odd key to himself and divided up the platinum amongst us. He then took an extra piece for himself and flipped the remaining piece in the air. We all reached for it but for me it was nothing to quickly reach out and grab it. With that done, we made our way back to the glittering cave to check out that iron clad door.

We carefully made our way over to the NE door, upon Jacare’s insistence, and it proved to be a wise thing. As we passed the passed the northern ledge, hugging the walls, tentacles suddenly shot out at us. We feared the worst, after our most recent ordeal and responded in kind. Luckily it proved to be no more than a pair of those foul, gigantic centipede looking creatures that can paralyze you if your not careful. Regardless, we dispatched of them and found a grisly lair of theirs filled with nothing but the inedible remains of their victims. So back to the iron door we headed.

Entry #3
The door proved to be an intimidating structure to say the least. I would like to say some sage phrase that I learned from my master about the strength of the water wearing at stone or about the value of bending like a reed, but it was Jacare and that key he had kept that got us through. He is useful for a human, I must say. He also had us make a slow go of ascending the stairs beyond which rose steeply to end in an octagon shaped room with three menacing looking dwarven statues and two wooden doors between them. We were cautions though and it proved to be a wise thing. It turned out that the doors were false, and opening them was the trigger that would send the weapons of the large statues slamming into whoever opened the door. We disabled all but one of them, which cut a gash into Jacare when it landed a blow between the seams of his plate armor. Eventually we found a secret door and opened it to another marvelous sight.

Entry #4
The door opened into a huge chamber will pillars that were carved to look like giants and beasts. These pillars supported the vaulted ceiling some thirty feet above. At the end of the room was a raised dais with a single, simple stone throne upon it. Before we had hardly entered a gruff, female voice shouted out from the chamber somewhere, “Go back the way you came or die”! Jacare yelled back that we were simply lost and needed help, while Benus shouted that we were not with the orcs….no reply followed.

Jacare and Badger cautiously advanced, and were surprised when out of thin air a nine foot tall dark skinned dwarf simply appeared and wildly attacked. The rest of us advanced as well, while Moonglum and Swiftwind stayed behind aiding with ranged attacks. Besides the fact that these damned things kept appearing when we least expected it we prevailed and decided to check the door behind the throne before we examined the other four doors in the room.

Beyond the door we found a small room with a single female dark skinned dwarf. She was apparently waiting for us. Jacare invoked parley and she accepted. After a short while it was agreed that she would lead us out of here, further down below to some great riches, but we were not to come back here ever. She left to gather the escort and some of us began to feel a bit nervous about the whole situation. She returned shortly with twenty fully armed dark skinned dwarves and ordered us into marching formation so they could escort us out.

Over the many years I have known Moonglum I have learned that he is generally a good and kind person. However, he doesn’t always think that he needs to follow the rules. And sometimes he simply does what he thinks is best, regardless of any code of conduct. He must have felt the same sense of uneasiness about being surrounded by all potential combatants. Just as we began to slowly move towards the large group of them, I caught a glimpse of Moonglum throwing a wisp of fine sand into the air and whispering, Dolle naa lost……VDRI. Then six of the dwarves simply fell to the ground asleep. The female dwarf screamed for the attack, Jacare shook his head in disbelief at the turn of events and we charged to meet the enemy.

Immediately after we engaged a familiar resounding burst of energy exploded in the center of the group of our enemies and over half of them were flung from its center nothing more than lifeless corpses. We pressed our enemy hard and within moments we were victorious. Moonglum revived Benus, who had fallen from many blows early on. We searched the corpses, but to no avail. The bad part was that during the battle the female commander simply vanished into thin air and was nowhere to be found. I don’t think we will have the option of parley in the future as we continue exploring this massive complex.

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Into the Depths (Episode 19)

Swiftwind’s Journal
Entry #1
Ed’ i’ ear ar’ elenea! I never imagined that I would behold such beauty underground. It’s as if the stars were imbedded within the ceiling of this vast chamber. We could see two other passages leading out of the chamber and an Iron door to the east. But there were also some type of stone sculptures on a large ledge to the west. We cautiously made our way to the western ledge and Moonglum, Varis and Badger went up to investigate. They must have been up there for almost an hour before they returned. When they did they handed over an impressive looking war hammer to Benus and showed us a stunning golden ring with an engraving of a dragon wrapped around itself and swallowing its own tail. We then moved on to travel down a small passage to the south and eventually after going up some stairs it opened into a chamber that had a river running through it. There was a blocked passage to the west, but to the east we could see stairs that led further below. The problem was getting to the stairs. The stream in the cavern created a humid spray that filled the cavern and eventually it flowed to the western end of the cavern and ended in a churning whirlpool that descended to depths unknown. The path became narrow and precariously slippery with the stones covered in a thick, slippery moss. Even with Badgers efforts to install a guide rope with his climbing gear it was a perilous crossing to reach the stairs. At one point Moonglum lost his footing and one of the pitons holding the guide rope came loose. We almost lost him to the river. Eventually we all reached the stairs and we descended down to find a chamber that had two swollen wooden doors to the east and another passage leading to the south. We decided to check the doors.

Entry #2
With some brute force by Badger the doors were knocked open. Eventually we discovered 6 rooms full of rotted food stuffs. We also discovered, much to our surprise, some strange creature that did not like our trespassing. As Jacare was investigating the first room, what had looked like a puddle of grey, murky water suddenly formed itself into a massive coil and whipped out at him. If that wasn’t bad enough, when he attacked it his flail suddenly started to sizzle and pop. The creature itself was a corrosive acid it seemed. He disengaged while Badger and Varis charged the thing. Benus and I offered ranged support and several blue darts of arcane energy were shot at the creature by Moonglum. Almost as soon as the attack had started it was over. Finding nothing else, besides the rotting foodstuffs, we left to explore the passage to the south.

Entry #3
We followed the passage and the river through a small chamber which opened up to a much larger cavern sprawling to the east. There was a hallway with stairs leading down to the south as well. Before continuing on east, we traveled down the stairs to find a partially flooded area with three rooms. These appeared to be old storage rooms of a sort. We spent some time searching the area, which was difficult because of the murky water as well as the stench emanating from it. Badger at one point actually reached below the surface, fully submerging his face in the process, and came back up with two flasks. Benus looked at them and said they would definitely come in handy in the future. At this point some of us were actually feeling quite nauseous so we decided whatever else was in here was not worth the time to look for it. We left and followed the cavern and the stream to the east. And nearly to our deaths.

Entry #4
The cavern narrowed into a passageway and after a few feet opened up again into another cavern with the river running through it, a ledge with several stalagmites across it to the south and a door further in and to the north. It was the sound of a fish flapping on the shore of the ledge across the river to the south that caught our attention. We were all on edge, so I quietly made my way into the chamber, keeping to the shadows as I attempted to investigate the chamber. It appeared that some sort of tentacle was holding the fish. As I tried to discern what this tentacle was, another one suddenly shot out at me and quickly had me wrapped in its grasp. I was pulled from my feet and was suddenly being reeled back towards a large stalagmite which I could now see had a glaring eye and a gaping maw. With the breath being squeezed out of me my vision began to blur and the last thing I thought was this would be my death.
Roper 1
I felt a surge of energy flowing through me and slowly my eyes opened. I almost wished they hadn’t. I was still firmly grappled by a tentacle, and now it seemed so was Badger. Varis was on the ledge pummeling the creature and both Jacare and Benus were running to leap across to come to our aid. I could see that Badger had given up on trying to break the grasp of the tentacle that held him and he had slipped out a potion and was drinking it as if his life depended upon it. A large arrow of acid suddenly slammed into the creature and I turned my face to avoid the splattering of the acid. When I regained my bearings more of the tentacles had engulfed both Varis and Benus. If that weren’t bad enough when the grasp of the tentacles wasn’t threatening to squeeze the life out of us, the creature would lure us in near it’s tremendous maw and razor sharp teeth would gauge at our flesh. Varis and Benus flailed at the creature and I think Badger was nearly unconscious. I squirmed and tried to get out but to no avail. Out of the corner of my eye it appeared that now Varis and Benus were nothing more than rag dolls in the creatures grasp. The last thing I saw was more tentacles reaching out and entangling both Jacare and Moonglum. And then I faded into darkness.

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The Glitterhame (Episode 18)

Benus’ Journal
Entry #1
After dealing with Ulfe and his minions we searched the rest of the compound. Aside from what appeared to be a drinking well, and a portcullis that had been blocked off with stuffed straw pallets, a concealed door was all we found. Before exploring behind this door we decided a rest was in order, and decided to make a rather uncomfortable camp inside the secret corridors of the outer defenses.

Entry #2
After an uneventful rest we proceeded through the secret door. It led us through a small corridor to another door. This one had strange engravings on it, perhaps orcish in nature. We prepared ourselves and opened the door. As expected we found more orcs within a small haze filled room. What we did not expect was a half nude orc shaman within commanding the half dozen or so orc warriors. I assumed the shaman was a she only because it was bare chested and had what appeared to be piercings on her large sagging breasts. Jacare attempted to parley but she would have none of it and ordered the attack. Jacare was able to gain entrance to the chamber and engage, but I held my ground at the entrance allowing Swiftwind and Moonglum to lend ranged support. The small room was a grisly site. Skulls in various states of decay were strung up as decorations and a putrid odor was emanating from a small fire in the corner. Jacare swung his flail aggressively at the orcs and I hunkered down and kept any of them from getting through the passage. At one point the shaman uttered some guttural phrases and seemed to take on an ominous visage, but we pressed the battle on even harder. When the battle started to turn in our favor she fled through the only other door to the room. It was a hard, slow fight, but we prevailed and gave chase after a quick search of the room.

Entry #3
Through the door we entered a large chamber with a tall ceiling and carvings of dwarves on the walls. A large rift filled the center of the chamber with rough hewn, almost natural looking stairs leading down into the darkness. Across the room, perhaps some 80 feet or more were several skeletal figures on the ground and a bit further a large door with a large carving of a glowering dwarven visage. We had to deal with a handful of those pesky stirges upon entering, but we made quick work of it. Upon inspecting the door we discovered it was trapped. We backed up and let Moonglum open the door with one of his arcane tricks. When he did, a gout of flame burst out from several tubes above the door and a third of the chamber was engulfed in thick, roiling flames. When the heat dissipated we discovered that the door merely led to a small mechanical room filled with two large brass pots, tubing and mechanisms for activating the deadly trap. Although Jacare disagreed, I destroyed the menacing trap and felt the wiser for it. It seemed the only way left to go was down the rift.

Entry #4
We made our way down a long, winding almost naturally shaped stairwell. At one point a stream cut across it and we had to jump across. It finally opened into a large chamber with another stream running through it and disappearing down a small passage on one side. Aside from some more pesky stirge we found only two passages leading out of the chamber. We proceeded through the northern most passage and soon found another chamber, but this one had 5 other passages branching out in all directions. It took some time and we had to deal with a pair of horrible smelling little lizard folk, but we checked all of them. One appeared to be a long tunnel leading upwards, another ended in a room that had a large bear held captive in it. Another appeared to be a dead end and two of them eventually met up again. Off of this looped passage was a small, oddly shaped chamber and it was in there that things got interesting.

Entry #5
Within a small, strangely shaped cavern we could see a skeletal figure, perhaps a dwarf, lying on the ground. That isn’t what caught our attention though. It was the sight of an obviously well crafted sword within its grasp and the strange mold that covered everything within the room. I couldn’t be certain, but my training told me that this mold was probably quite poisonous. Moonglum attempted to use a rope and his magical ability to move things to try and pull the sword out from a distance. All he managed to do however was kick up spores and nearly keel over dead from the fit of coughing that overtook him. Jacare and Moonglum were adamant about retrieving that sword and proceeded to produce a spectacle in doing so. Through a process of using several ropes, a sack, a flask of water, telekinesis and sheer stupidity they managed to get the thing out. Jacare actually put a wet bag over his head, held his breath and blindly followed a guide rope that Moonglum pulled taut with magic right to the pommel of the sword. What they didn’t expect was when Jacare returned his makeshift hood was covered with yellowish spores from the mold he had kicked up. Moonglum backpedaled away from him as if he were the specter of death himself. After Jacare frantically got the bag off his head they both dashed down the corridors to the stream and vigorously scrubbed themselves and their prize, a stunning bastard sword with the mark of Durgeddin.

Entry #6
When they finally were done cleaning themselves and I was done chuckling, we went back to the passages. We followed the last passage, bypassing the moldy room of death, and after some twists and turns it opened up into a vast cavernous chamber. And it was a sight to behold. Was this the Glitterhame? The cavern extended hundreds of feet into the darkness. The ceiling glimmering with a faint phosphorescence nearly fifty-feet overhead, our torchlight striking dazzling glints of bright flecks and gleaming stone structures in the distance. Patches of strange fungi dot the floor, including capped stalks standing as tall as a human, and glooming puffballs almost a yard wide. High ledges can be seen rising up to a height of nearly twenty-feet in the distance along the northern, southern, and western walls. Narrow passageways appear to lead off to the north and south, and a flight of stone stairs descends from the western ledge to a path that meanders through the center of the chamber toward a small iron door in the eastern wall. The entire chamber sighs with a soft, cool breeze rising toward the surface far above. It’s truly an incredible sight to behold!

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Khundrukar (Episode 17)

Varis’ Journal
Entry #1
Having gained entry into what we think is the main entrance of Khundrukar half of the party advanced onward while the rest of us stood guard. It wasn’t long however that we heard the shouts of our companions calling for aid. Swiftwind and I quickly advanced to find a situation very similar to the first dwarven fortress we had stormed. The local orc denizens were using the many different hallways to find our flanks and attack from all sides. We quickly regrouped and attacked en masse down one hallway and into a room. It was a hard pressed fight as the orcs used cover to their advantage and rained arrows upon us but we prevailed. Jacare and Moonglum were injured badly, but again Benus somehow seemed to simply close their wounds. I have seen Moonglum manipulate the arcane arts, much like I have learned to manipulate Ki, but Benus is a mystery to me. We quickly barricaded some hallways and found a makeshift kitchen and two human prisoners that we released to safety. We then advanced down a hallway to try and clear a portion of this fortress.

Entry #2
Ta naa neuma! I am impressed by these dwarves of old. Even in death they do not yield their fortress easily. As we rounded a corner we spotted an impressive statue of a dwarf. However, when we moved closer to examine it we discovered it was a trap, spewing forth a noxious green gas among us. Luckily we all were able to hold our breath and back peddle until it dispersed. With that, we opened up a door into a large room that appeared to be mostly empty. It didn’t take but a few seconds upon advancing that out of the corners of the room several orcs, one of them in chain mail it seemed, broke out into formation to stop us from entering.

Entry #3
No sooner had we begun or advance did we realize the true danger we were in. As we pressed the line of orcs blocking our path I noticed that two large wolves had run up from behind and tripped Moonglum to the ground, threatening to end his life. This I could not stand for. Benus struck a powerful blow that resounded with a thunderous crash dispersing much of the orcs in front. And then I noticed the large ogre-like humanoid that was swinging its massive greataxe at Moonglum as well. I quickly killed one of the wolves and Benus and I advanced towards the large creature. Moonglum scampered away and Benus held off the brute, who seemed enraged at the death of the first wolf, so I killed the second as well, taunting him. We pressed him hard, and soon I noticed that Swiftwind must have joined us from the shadows as arrows started to fly in pelting the brute time and again. Soon the beast succumbed to his wounds and we helped Jacare finish dealing with the rest of the orcs that he had been holding off by himself. We questioned the last remaining orc to learn that the brute was none other than than their ogre chief, the Great Ulfe.
Ogre2
Entry #4
We searched the area and discovered a secret door that lead to a series of hallways making up the defensive arrow slots of the outer defenses. We also found a large amount of coins in the ogres room, some gems and a masterly crafted war hammer. We stashed the loot in the hallways behind the secret door and explored the fortress some more. Making our way back out into one of the first larger rooms we noticed that a door was open that had not been before. We found behind it what seemed to be an empty barracks. We dismissed it and pressed on. There were only 2 more hallways and the first one we checked we soon discovered another secret door. I am sure that we will find resistance behind it, so we prepared ourselves.
Tenna’ tul’re san’

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Stone Tooth Mountain (Episode 16)

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Swiftwind’s Journal
Entry #1
I have not longed for the serenity of the Shimmerwood Forest since I left it, but after our ordeal in the crypts I found my thoughts drifting to home often. It wasn’t the wound itself that burdened me so, it was the sense of dread that filled my bones. We have decided to head west, and while the rest of the group makes travel preparations I used the time to rest.

Entry #2
Traveling to Blasingdell was a refreshing change of scenery. Our first day was uneventful, aside from the howling of wolves in the night. On our second day we barely noticed a group of hill orcs set up to ambush us. We dealt with them and continued on. Reaching Blasingdell we stabled the horses and I rested again while the rest gathered what information they could about Khundrukar.

Entry #3
It took us two days to reach the mountain and then to find the old hidden trail that we had learned of in all of our research. By then we had to camp before we could head up the mountain. That night we were attacked by strange creatures. They looked like giant bats with long snouts that they tried to suck our blood with. We killed several of them until Jacare had us put out the fire. After that they bothered us no more.

Entry #4
We found what we think is Khundrukar. It was, as one would expect of any dwarven fortress, a fight to gain entrance. I do not hold orcs in high regard, but when they hold the defenses of a dwarven keep they are much harder to kill. If I stood behind the arrow slits of this keep I think I would have exacted a heavier toll on the enemy. Lucky for us many of our warriors had shields. We would advance by covering sections of the wall and then the rest of us had to advance. When we gained entrance things got a bit tricky though. While Badger, Jacare and Benus made sure arrow slits were covered it was left to Moonglum, Varis, and I to gain entrance past a set of large carved stone doors. They appeared to be barred from the other side, so there was little I could do. Moonglum however performed some strange arcane ritual, and after a loud, resounding boom the door cracked open just a bit. A bit more pushing and we got it open. Now we faced a deep, dark natural chasm that could only be crossed by a dangerously frayed looking rope bridge. Oh, and the orc archers that were shooting at us as well. Varis and Moonglum devised a plan and I started returning fire at our enemy. Varis sprinted towards the chasm and then, well it’s almost as if he flew across the expanse. When he reached the other side all but 1 of the orcs were lying on the ground, asleep, thanks to Moonglum. After dealing with the orcs, and now having to fashion a new bridge since the original was lost in the battle, we all made our way across. We had managed to capture 1 orc and Jacare interrogated him. We found out little. This tribe has been here for decades and is led by The Great Ulfe. It seems there are about 50 members of the tribe. If they use the defenses of the fortress well, it will be a hard fight.

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