Valen, Gerald, Mordecai, Mr. Highpeak, and myself (Derg Stonesmasher, man of magic and axe) adventured back into the winding and well-made tunnels around Bruckschloss. This time, we were accompanied by the fine dwarves from some of the most well-known houses in the long-forgotten empire. They still had minds of fog and would occasionally doze off, but each was as vital a member as the party as myself. We had Hrothgar Ironhaus, a kind gentleman with the most musical sense of any dwarf I’ve met (which will be important to our adventure, as I’ll explain later). Voice like an elf, clapped hands like a goliath. Dank Kindlegrim always had a mushroom or two in his pocket, if I needed a quick snack. Mürrisch Kindlegrim could always point north. We never confirmed that he was correct, but I have no reason to doubt. Schläfrig Gearbuckle and Urist Botmurdur had the uncanny ability to doze off at exactly the same time. I could identify no arcane reason for this, so I have deduced they are probably soulmates. Arzt Drakesoot was actually able to get a solid hit off on a foe during combat. A fine shot! “Knuckles” Dodric beat me in arm-wrestling. That’s a feat the bards should sing of. Bor Drakesoot told the best campfire story I’ve ever heard. Or at least the best start to a campfire story. He kept dozing off and having to start over, but the anticipation kept me on the edge of my seat. Dieter Ironhaus was always the last to bed and the first one up in the morning. This may have had to do with his incredible amount of day-dozing, but I have to admire his commitment to the team. Gernot Kindlegrim and Otto Gearbuckle let me explain the finer points of the mending cantrip to them. Despite their pre-existing conditions, they dozed off less during my lectures than Mordecai. Little Rutger Ironhaus sure tried his hardest. Luckily Big Rutger Kindlegrim always had his back. Funnily enough, Little Rutger probably has 40 pounds on Big Rutger. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I always got them mixed up. Ulrich Brassforge sharpened my axe better than any blacksmith in Mariner’s Landing. Willi Dodric told the best jokes. They were alarmingly racist towards elves, but I’m sure even little Gil would have had a laugh or two. Hans Denthelm may not have been the quickest on his feet, but he did every task with a smile that would warm a hag’s heart. And last, but certainly not least, Jurgen “Gaptooth” Kindlegrim had the most adorable whistle when he said my last name.
Our small scouting party headed west from Bruckschloss. The dwarves wanted to swing by their former clan’s homes to assess the damage, see what was left, and try to find anything that would spark their memory. We decided to start by going by the home of the Gearbuckle.
After one day of travel, we arrived in a large, open chasm with a mighty stone bridge. As we traversed the bridge, we noticed large gorges in the walls. Upon inspection, I deciphered that this was a likely a former mithril mine, that has long since been tapped out. At the end of the bridge we spotted a small company of grimlocks. We had no ill-will toward them, but they were looking particularly cannibally and not prone to speak the finer languages. Mr. Highpeak came up with a plan that let the blind grimlocks know that we were both friendly dwarves and plentiful in numbers. We chanted a traditional dwarven tune; our claps and our stomps and our collective beautiful voices either scared the grimlocks off or led to them going away to master their own tunes to compete against our newly formed band. I guess there is a third option, which is to retreat temporarily and come back in greater numbers to attempt to slay us. That actually seems very similar to what they ended up doing, so maybe that is a realistic option.
They ambushed us on a narrow bridge, with an overhanging cliff. Through the quick action of the party and about one hundred dwarves, the grimlocks were dispatched or pushed back faster than I could climb a small cliff. We quickly pushed on before any more could arrive.
We eventually came upon a fascinating factory, indicated as Mirrormelt Workshop. On the outskirts we found mithril mines and large piles of ore and coal. Inside we found certain death and some really awesome magic things!
There was a large golem that could have easily squashed our heads one by one. Luckily he was charged with keeping the factory intact, which means it should be easy to re-start, and much of the goodies inside were unperturbed by butts such as the grimlocks.
We finagled our way around the golem by creating a large line of ear-whispers involving the many dwarves. We chained them from a side entrance to where the party proper was breaching the main entrance. As the golem continued it rounds to the opposite end, we would press deeper into the main building. As he rotated back, we would flee with our tails between our legs until he left.
We quickly found a singular necklace that seemed to promote safety when in the proximity of the golem. As our party’s least stealthy and slowest member, I donned this amulet of safety. I cast invisibility on wizard-in-training Mordecai so he could watch my back and began exploring. I found exactly what I had been looking for. There was a room with powerful dwarven magic. It appears that this factory was to make intricate mithril mirrors and then to enchant them with a variety of effects. I identified many types of magic in the various enchantment circles. I found a book that detailed the enchantments uses. It varied from simple vanity-related enchantments to divination and planar travel.
There was a mysterious door in this enchantment room, with a powerful and complex riddle guarding its passage. I naturally solved in within seconds and gained entry to the secret vault. Within there we a few more of the safety-necklaces, a powerful mace, some mithril bars, and an amazing, spectacular, grand-prize mirror that allows for travel to the elemental plane of earth. It will surely be the death of me, but until then I shall discover just so many magical secrets.
While I was plundering the magical secrets of Mirrormelt Workshop, the rest of my party was having a bit of an issue with some unexpected defenders. I was not present for this battle, but I will give a recollection based on my understanding of the capabilities of Valen, Gerald, Mordecai, and Mr. Highpeak:
Four heroes and a couple dozen dwarves were investigating the main foundry of Mirrormelt Workshop. They had pieced together most of the functions of the various machinery but were perplexed by a large furnace with no apparent location for fuel. As they inspected closer, a roar like the fire of a thousand suns exploded forth. Over eighty tiny, fire creatures spat forth from a hidden gate from the elemental plane of fire, encircling the party. Identifying the danger, Gerald yelled to the mass of dwarves, “Fly you fools! I shall protect your rear!”. He flipped his weapon over and swept the wooden butt across a wide arc of these small fire demons. This provided just the opening for the many dwarves to run to safety. Gerald followed behind the dwarves, positioning in such a way that not a single demon could reach the dwarves without experiencing the cold edge of his blade.
The heroes did not take this opportunity to run. Valen saw the opportunity for subterfuge and turned to the mass of fire demons. “Ha, you fools! You have left your realm undefended!” he bellowed. He feigned a dash towards the portal to the elemental plane of fire. Despite my studies showing it is very unlikely the fiends spoke uncommon, they all dashed towards Valen. Little did they know, this was his plan all along. He turned and unleashed a holy light so bright that all had to overt their eyes. Even myself, several hallways and closed doors away, thumbing through a book, had to blink a few times before resuming my studies. Dozens of tiny screams were emitted as all of the creatures evaporated in a radiant blaze.
This victory was short lived, as seconds later a massive fire elemental exploded from the elemental plane. “We have to seal the gate!” Mr. Highpeak yelled. He sprinted and grabbed a large melting pot. With barely a strain he wrenched it from its bolts and hurled it onto the open portal. A perfect fit.
He grabbed large chains from the machinery and tore them down as Valen and Gerald kept the fire elemental busy. After securing the melting pot with one of the chains, he showed his textbook bravery and leaped off of the elevated platform, grabbing a hold of this creature made entirely of flames. As the fires slowly roasted Mr. Highpeak, he pulled the chains tight around the elemental. “Gerald! Finish him!”
Before anyone could react, the elemental opened his maw, and a torrent of whirling fire poured out toward not only Valen and Gerald, but the whole congregation of dwarves right outside. Thinking quickly, Valen held up his holy symbol, and emitted a radiant shield. “The light of Pelor shines brighter than any elemental flame!” he yelled into the face of this 30-foot tall column of fire. No fires could push past the holy boundary he created and just enough time was spared that all the dwarves could make it out without a single singe mark.
Gerald smiled and whispered under his breath, “got you right where I want you, fire boy,” as he lifted his halberd and leaped into the air. Reaching just to the eye level of the beast, he brought the blade down with a holy fury. A trail of radiant energy followed the halberd as it seemed to pierce straight to the core of the fire elemental. With a single divine smite, the elemental dissipated into a small pile of embers.
Unfortunately, this commotion had drawn the attention of the powerful golem stalking the halls. Luckily Mordecai was keeping an eye on the golem, and knew he was the only line of defense between the golem and about 30 smooshed dwarf heads. With gazelle like speed, he ran right between the legs of the golem and took hold of its neck. “You will not smoosh my friends!” he growled in Terran, which I assume all monks know.
Despite the huge size and obvious strength, the golem could not break Mordecai’s one handed grapple. Unfortunately the golem decided that if he could not get to other intruders, Mordecai’s face would be the one to be smooshed. He put his huge stone palms on either side of Mordecai’s head. The pressure built, and there was no change for escape. The golem lifted Mordecai three feet in the air, grasping his head like a particularly juicy watermelon. Just as the tension was becoming too much, Mordecai thought back to his schooling. He remembered a spell that was exactly what he needed now. What was it called? Misty step! He remembered it required only verbal components, so his hideous dismissal of his component pouch and all arcane focuses would not stop him from casting it. But how did it work? His vision darkened. If only he had paid more attention in school…
But then a flash of memory. He remembered traversing the Grey Hills with his best friend Derg. As usual, him and Derg decided to take last watch, so as the sun rose they could go over some of the finer points of the spells that Derg planned on using that day. Although Mordecai turned his back on wizardry, these moments with Derg, where he could exercise his mind and talk of the magic that was once held so close to his heart, were some of his favorite times while adventuring. That morning, as the sun rose and the mists rolled in, Derg quietly spoke of how one must speak their arcane word for misty step in such a way that the words become the mist that becomes you. A strong start, that trails off as you push your being into a cloud of fast moving mist. Like a very wet sneeze.
With this memory aching in his smooshing head, Mordecai’s eyes flared open. “Norkai Rivrumm!” he yelled, as his body faded to a cool mist, and appeared thirty feet away from the golem. He used his monk reflexes to jump to the ceiling and recede into the shadows. He had bought just enough time for the rest of the party to escape the foundry. He had kept his head. And he had found his heart.
I think that’s how most of that went. I was very busy with my studies, and they did not talk about it too much when I made my way out a few hours later. Ooo! Sometime during all of this I found out about a dwarf named Scobbern Kindlegrim. He was the dwarf I had previously seen on some fancy carvings. I had previously named him the Two Chains dwarf, but I am glad to know his name. Apparently, he wielded two large fiery chains to kill giant worms under the mountain. This is now pretty much the only thing I care about. Bones Mc-K had spoken vaguely of this dwarf and I already thought it was pretty much the best thing. My main goal in Drochtredia is to uncover ancient dwarven magic that has been lost to time. This looks like a promising clue in that direction. We must get to the Kindlegrim Clan’s homestead!
After this we brought back what we found to Bruckschloss. Two of the dwarves stayed behind to see if they could get the plant up and running again. We probably will need more of those necklaces. Once we explore further we shall make a better map!
Thanks for reading.