In the morning we boarded the raft and set out onto the dark sea, keeping the raft within sight of the cavern wall. We soon found the short cut Ogguk had told us about. A shallow stream meandered through the cave, sometimes taking up the width of the cave and forcing us to wade in ankle deep water. At other times, the cave would widen out allowing us to walk beside the stream.
It was in one of these wider caves that the attack came. The roper ambushed us, drawing Tor and Keth in with it’s tentacles, while the giant rats that subsisted on it’s leftovers attacked the rest of us. It drew Keth into it’s vicious maw and tore great chunks of his flesh off (60 hp damage!) before finally falling to our blades.
After many long and perilous days, we had reached our destination: the deurgar settlement of Gracklstugh.
Here we would find the duergar who supplied the queen with cloakers, and hopefully learn something that would be useful to defeat her. There was only one problem. While the outer market and slums were open to non-duergar, the interior of the walled town was forbidden to outsiders. Without proper papers, no non-duergar were allowed inside. .
As we stood pondering ways to get inside the walls, a minotaur slave passed us, taking special interest in Keth’s sword. We followed him to a tavern in the slum district. A few rounds of cheap ale, later he told us two things:
- his grandmother told him tales of the blade “flame’s champion”. He hoped this was not the same blade because legend tells that flame’s champion kept horrors from beyond from crossing over into this world.
- We described the crest we were looking for, and he told us to go see the bartender in the Grinning Gargoyle near the market.
The bartender at the Grinning Gargoyle, a gregarious tiefling named Lucius, was no fan of the Duergar, but he made a good living selling his ale to them. In fact, the hammerfist clan was particularly fond of his brew, and he delivered several casks to them every other day. In exchange for the eggs we found buried at the fishmen’s temple (which he believed to be basilisk eggs), he would let us deliver today’s shipment, allowing us access inside the wall.
Once inside the walls, it was an easy matter to find the hammerfist compound, and bluff our way in. Inside the main house, we found the eldest Hammerfist alone, checking on his “merchandise”. Before we could ask him anything, he ran for the exit, calling for his guards and releasing the creatures from their pens to cover his escape
Freed from captivity, the beasts angrily attacked anything in their path, including the duergar. However, he wore a bracer that sent a shock to their collars if they attacked him, so they quickly turned their attention to us. Bruenor almost escaped, but Lusherina’s magic missile struck true, incapacitating him just as he stepped through the door.
After dispatching his “pets”, we interrogated him. In exchange for his life, he gladly revealed that the cloakers are merely a convenience. A tool to help pacify victims. She uses them to assist In a ritual that drains the life energy from magic users to artificially prolong her life. ”undo the ritual and she would age centuries in an instant”
Current treasure (9,606 gp)
4 pearls (100 gp)
2 sapphires (250 gp)
4 emeralds (500 gp ea)
4 amethyst (100 gp)
Raise dead scroll (ritual)
1 cure moderate potions
+2 holy symbol
+3 black iron plate armor