Rheinhardt poured a healing draught down Kinstaag’s throat and Kinstaag’s eyes popped open with the fire of pure hate. He got up and charged across the cavern toward Vorrik Foulhammer, the Oathbreaker. Vorrik sent the two piles of ambling bones, which formerly were proud Dwarves, toward him. “What’s the matter nephew? Yes, I know who you are … and what you are.”, Vorrik cackled, “and like many before you, you’ll take it to your end.” Another skeleton arose from the stream running through the cavern, right next to Geddragg.
Old Man Rheinhardt, with a burst of speed, rushed Vorrik with a surprisingly fast attack while Kinstaag and Salvik held off two skeletons and Geddragg and Link battled the third. Gozbert rained magical missiles toward Vorrik and Natina aided and assisted where needed.
Vorrik blinded the Old Man, but not so much that he didn’t get in one lucky last swing before he stepped out of reach. It was obvious that Vorrik, unprepared as he was, had luck on his side. Things were not going well for him and he tried to silence Gozbert as another missile stung him. Another lucky swing from the Old man as one of the skeletons was decimated by Kinstaag …. Vorrik stepped into the water at the end of the cavern, deeper and deeper until only his head showed, chanting a spell. As his head disappeared beneath the the water the final skeleton collapsed. All bones were quickly dispersed and the skulls crushed.
The lake at the end of the cavern, collected the water from the stream that flowed through the caverns, but didn’t grow larger … there must be an underwater outlet, they surmised. Natina, anchored by a rope, swam down to check out the water below the surface of the lake. A narrow underwater tunnel with strong current flowed out of the cavern. The rope was not long enough to explore far, so Natina returned, nearly drowning in the process. Geddragg and Rheinhardt scattered the bones of the fallen Dwarves, smashing the skulls of each one and gathering what little they wore. Each had brigantine scale and a war hammer, one had a single bracer which Kinstaag identified as being that of a royal guard from Karak Varn, a Dwarven hold that had fallen to the Night Goblins several years before.
Natina and Salvik explored the shallow end of the lake. Salvik finding an un-natural drop off near one cavern wall with a weak current flowing down the drop off. Natina, again, swam down and through a carved tunnel and up into a room of worked stone. There was machinery here. Gears turning, levers moving, slowly turning, their silent purpose unknown. Above, she saw a ladder leading out of the water, a table, some shelves, possibly Vorrik’s study. She swam back to inform the rest.
Upon hearing of the room, they decided to go and investigate. Natina swam back with the rope and tied it off so the rest could pull themselves along rather than trying to swim it. Salvik, Geddragg and Gozbert followed, the rest remained behind in case Vorrik returned. A metal grate separated them from a large paddle wheel of an even larger machine and a ladder anchored above let them climb up to the room. The room was dimly lit by natural light finding its way down through a crack in the ceiling that must eventually lead to the surface. The room itself was only about 20 feet square, with 1/3 of it taken up by the machine and the underwater passage opening. in the remainder was a large work desk, chair and book case. This had obviously been a natural cave at one time that had been worked into a room with flat floors and walls.
The desk was covered with papers, scrolls, maps and diagrams. Geddragg quickly set about putting as many as he could into scroll cases to transport out. Gozbert went to the shelves of books and quickly took 3 large books (one was Vorrik’s spell book, which Gozbert did not tell anyone that he recognized) into his oilcloth ruck sack and wrapped it tightly for the swim back. Salvik jammed pieces of table and anything he could into the slowly rotating gears to jam and stop the great machine. Then he managed to break one of the paddles on the paddle wheel. Geddragg saw what Salvik was doing and joined in, wedging a dagger into an area between two gears. It was time to go. First Salvik, then Geddragg and Gozbert and finally Natina, who untied the rope and brought it with her.
Fairly secure in their feelings that Vorrik would not be returning. Geddragg pulled out the scroll cases to look at their contents and urged Gozbert to do the same. Gozbert hesitated saying, “don’t you think it better that we wait until we get back to town?” Geddragg didn’t wait. He pulled out and quickly sorted into piles, letters here, maps there, drawings of machines in another pile. The maps were of the Moot, south to Black Fire Pass and east to the Worlds Edge Mountains … including parts of Sylvania. The drawings included one of a dwarven war machine, some sort of a steam powered cannon, but the ink was smeared in places by water. Another was of the machine in the cavern room that might be a pump of some type. Yet another was …..
… <clink><clink-clank-clunk> … the sound of metal dropped on stone, most likely down a steep embankment … like the WATERFALL ROOM! The party quickly positioned themselves for a battle as a flickering light grew in the passage ahead.. “HALLOOOOO!” cried a voice. “CAN YOU HEAR ME? YOU WERE NOT HARD TO FOLLOW!” The voice sounded familiar, a high pitched voice of a Halfling ….. Tilivan, the witch hunter strode down the tunnel.
“You have come a long way since last we met.”, he said. Caravan guards to witch hunter to constable and deputies. Hmmmm, (he stares at Geddragg) what is that item in your pack there, Geddragg the Dwarf? You know, playing with the winds of magic will get you burned. I am not at task to ferret out Dwarven magic, but be well warned … all magic is evil. Now, what leads you to this foul smelling place?"
The party explains what has transpired, the documents they recovered and the books, as Gozbert is again urged to unearth his find, but when the secret room of a necromancer is mentioned, Tilivan says, “It must be destroyed!” and before they can stop him, he drops his pack, pistols and powder, grabs two sealed pottery containers from his pack (recognized as some sort of bomb) and jumps into the water.
Geddragg and Gozbert quickly gather up their scrolls and books and ready themselves for a hasty retreat as the room shudders with the sound of an explosion, just as Tillivan emerges from the water. “I think it may be more prudent to go over your finds back in town”, he said. “This place is evil!”. The group explained Vorrik’s escape and possible return and Tilivan said, “Not if I drop the ceiling in on that tunnel. You get started on out, I should be right behind you.”
The party retraced their path out of the cavern with no mishaps, as they proceeded, Geddragg noticed that there was less dripping and the stream seamed smaller than when they entered. When they reached the cavern door, the sound of an explosion rang through the cavern. The door was wide open and . Not ‘held open by a log’, but wide open. Nothing was trying to close it now. Geddragg figured out that the pump below must pump water up to this door to make it shut and lock automatically. About this time, Tilivan came running out of the cavern. They shut, “locked” and blocked the door before returning to town.
On their walk to town, they told the story of Sty Lum, The false priest, the stone and grave, After being told of the grave stone that read “I’m a spie for Dwarf”, Tilivan chuckled, glancing at a tiny mark exposed on Kinstaag’s shoulder, "Looks like this town is a veritable trove of spies!. Kinstaag adjusted his stance to cover the mark, but not before Gozbert and Geddragg noticed it also. (Secret signs for the win) On arrival at the constable’s office, Natina checked the prisoner, who appeared to be asleep. Thinking he was faking, she made a few comments to the group concerning him with no reaction. Geddragg got his jail cell key (remember, only HIS key works in this lock) and opened the cell door. The prisoner was dead with a dart in his neck, most likely thrown from the cell window above.
“You folk just aren’t very good at this, are you?”, Tilivan wryly asked. First you go after a witch, who escapes. Then you arrive here and my friend dies and you let his murderer escape. Then you find out about a necromancer, and you let HIM escape!", his voice becoming more agitated. While Link and Salvik checked outside for clues, Geddragg offered to throw the runestones and ask for guidance toward the killer. Tilivan excused himself from the casting and went outside muttering about Dwarven magic.
Geddragg tossed the runes and interpreted the reading as “Beneath the stone”. They all concluded it was the Headstone above hidden room that they had been led to by a similar phrase. They all, except Kinstaag who was too banged up, ran to the cemetery and the stone. Link saw fresh prints from a horse that had been tied there. Gozbert opened the stone and looked down. There were fresh muddy prints at the bottom. Link went to follow the horse tracks toward the forge while Gozbert went into the hidey hole. A torch was still lit from whoever was recently here and on the floor was not one, but two corpses. The original one, nearly a skeleton, and the corpse of the Halfling farmer that was part of the council of elders.
Thus ends PART I of Trouble in the MooT
Those that didn’t use RP to get advancements not offered by their profession SHOULD now have finished their first profession. NOW is the time to be looking for you next profession. It will take 200 RP to start your next profession and an appropriate amount of time. If you choose now, it can cut down on the in game time to learn your new profession while you earn those 200 RP. Let me know your choices (they don’t have to be public knowledge). Also remember a couple changes now that you are past your first profession.
1) Each advance is 200 RP now
2) No party RP from here forward. You only get RP when you attend a session.
It is great GM’ing for this great group. …. Vance
…..to be continued!