The Journal of Micar’eyl Auvrymtor: Expedition into the Dwarven Catacombs
Iliyanbruen are pushing again about finding whomever has despoiled their old kingdom in Neverwinter Wood. Need to do something about that soonest. Have started passing word to Darvin and others I can find buyers for ancient elven magical artifacts. Other ideas: trade stories with local bards? Looting on that scale can’t have been secret.
Neverwinter music is a waste of my talent, but humans seem to like it.
Valtha Bonecarver, dwarf necromancer (see previous notes) showed up. Told her to leave skeleton outside. Again. Why is that my job? Valtha wants to hire mercenaries to support taking on dragon underneath Neverwinter. Apparently already failed with one expedition. Think tunnel vision (ha-ha) making her overestimate difficulty. Could be interesting- proposed expedition for shares of treasure instead of pay. Day trip = easy money?
In: Valtha, Branwen, me, and two new guys. One is Marcus, half-elf swordsman. Seems paranoid, like someone is chasing him. Seems to know Branwen a little. Other is human wizard (?- think so) Horst. Kind of a shady character. Waterdeep accent but says he never wants to go back.
Suggested card game wagering information to all get to know each other. Had to be insistent — Marcus and Branwen seemed preoccupied. Branwen is upset about something. Also tells us she’s been volunteering on the Wall, and people who do that too much hear voices and suffer terrible nightmares. She got a dreamthief doll that you put under your pillow and the nightmares go away. This is most definitely some Far Realms shit, confirms idea that there is aberrant activity in the Chasm. Valtha claims it sounds like illthids?! Or at least something with smart central brain directing minions.
Marcus tells us he’s been looking into reports of a tower in the Neverwinter woods built by an apprentice to Khelban Blackstaff. Word is that it has been appearing sproradically since the Spellplague, the Tower of Twilight. Malchor Harpell supposedly built it. There is a lot going on there for empty woods with nothing but ruins! Separate from the Illiyanbruen stuff? Speaking of which, I give news on the coming Iliyanbruen invasion. Horst very closed-mouthed. Do get him to let slip that he has a serious beef with with a Dead Rat named Rsolk.
Valtha’s underground entrance is in the River District, where Many-Arrows has HQ. We don’t run into orcs, but near the entrance desiccated bodies covered in ash attack us. “Ash zombies” that Valtha was talking about. They come in waves, but we beat them back and descend through a cistern.
Going deeper we find ancient dwarven tombs. Branwen and Marcus (also a former local it seems) swear that Old Neverwinter had no idea these were there. Very odd; dwarves not known for their ability to keep secrets. Dumathoin = dwarf god of secrets, but thought that was kind of like being orc god of genius. (Praise Lloth!)
Valtha does a ritual to commune with the spirits of the dead. They are the dwarves of Delzoun who wished to be laid to rest by the river. They tell her that the zombies have been bound by the dragon’s will. The primordial Maegera the Inferno (!!!!) is awakening, they tell her to seek Gauntlegrim. They tell her the dragon is young and does not know his place in the world yet. He seeks status and will trade for it. The fire elementals who worship Maegara (!!!) and wish to see him freed from Gauntlegrim, the dragon seeks status with. He will sacrifice humans to prove his worth. Currently he offers hospitality to their wizard, a shadowy arcanist who will find the secrets of Dumathoin and release the spirits of Gauntlegrim. FYI, Maegara the Inferno was one of the primordials of the Dawn War. Talking literal god power, and not lame ‘dwarf god of secrets’ power either!
Primoridal awakening = everything east of Sea of Fallen Stars is ash. Srs business. Definite put in next report.
We press on deeper into the caverns and come to a ruined dwarven outpost. We fight multiple undead, including a dwarven ghost, a mummy, three ash zombies, and a flaming skeleton. Horst plugs away with magic missile, Marcus good at taking hits but frequently gets tied up with powerful opponents. In the end we defeat without too much trouble.
As we take breather, three genasi appear! They are the survivors of Valtha’s first expedition, and they are mad at her. Aban (earthsoul), Lekythion (windsoul), and Sultara (stormsoul). To survive, they cut a deal to work for the dragon and serve as its guards. Things are tense and unhappy, but I use charm magic on their leader, Lekythion. Afterwards things go much more smooth. Agree to take Valtha in as apparent captive, and we hit dragon from all sides. They tell isKoravakarios is a catastrophe dragon, meaning his egg was formed from all the people that died in the volcanic disaster. (Note: gender does not actually apply to catastrophe dragons, but K was our enemy so I’ll call it ‘he’ as punishment.)
Fight is rougher than anticipated. Need to have more respect for dragon power in future. However, we all pound on him and eventually K drops. Hoard is disappointing considering amount of trouble we went to.
“The Keeper of Secrets done under the mountain shall never forget the deeds done in secret. Remember the guy Indrik Silentshield who led the dwarves from Gauntlegrim and saved them.” This is an inscription on a dwarven statue. Valtha reads it out loud. There are three secret passages into Gauntlegrim. See notes elsewhere for clues.
Sultara mentions that the mage sent to free Maegera is Netherese and deeper in the catacombs. With Koravakarios slain, she’ll take Lekythion back to Neverwinter and see to his recovery. Really interested in seeing what Netherese are up to in this region, so I push for going after mage before he knows to run. Marcus now evident as hard man hero type and Branwen’s heart always bleeds for do-gooding, so they come. Valtha obvious interest. Horst inscrutable.
We find mage Qalthus working on ancient dwarven tomb torturing ghosts. He has two fire elemental bodyguards and puts up tough fight! Eventually Valtha uses old grave wards to shut down some of his magic, so he stops to negotiate. Cue extended rant and how he was part of a Netherese expedition to Xinlenal, which is legendary first Netherese floating city (before they perfected the magic, so why are they so hot on finding it again, asks I?). Got blamed for damaging enclave’s mythallar and the Netherese exiled Qalthus, and he joined the Fires Below fire elemental cult (is that a thing? do elementals have cults?) to seek revenge by helping them to release Maegera the Inferno, burying Xinlenal (and the rest of the region) in lava. Craaaazy wizard.
By the way, Xinlenal also supposedly in Neverwinter Woods. I know! How is there room for trees with all the old ruins there?
Fire elementals do not like negotiation, so Qalthus kills them. Horst and I like the odds better now, so we attack. It’s a pity, but guy was way too crazy to make a stable tool. Best to pick him off in moment of vulnerability. Praise Lloth!
Beat all to hell, we head back to the Flagon. Play cards that night, and a card form the Deck of Many Things turns up in Marcus’s hand. Creeeepy!
|Marcus Greycloak||Secrets Under the Mountain|
|Valtha Bonecarver||The Sanctum of Dumathoin|