The Journal of Marcus Greycloak: Secrets Under the Mountain
14 Ches 447 NR
The Year of the Ageless One
After following Branwen for a time, I decided to make contact. I approached her while she was hunting in the ruins. It was dangerous. She almost shot me, but I convinced her to hear me out. I wanted to establish myself as a trustworthy source of information before telling her about Cymril, so I gave her some of the information I uncovered about Charl setting up a deal between the Dead Rats and the Sons of Alagondar. Once she corroborates the information, she may be more open to hearing to what I bring her next.
Visited her tavern, the Sunken Flagon. A dwarven necromancer of all things walked in while I was there, followed by her skeletal companion. I overheard her speaking with the tavern’s drow bard about hiring mercenaries for an expedition into the ruins in search of artifacts of the dwarven god Dumathoin. Somewhere in the ruins is a dragon. Her first expedition was already lost to the creature. She did not strike me as the usual sort of necromancer one hears about, and she clearly is not working with Thay. So I decided to investigate further to see if she could be useful.
I offered my services as a swordsman for the expedition. I learned that her name is Valtha Bonecarver, a priestess to the lost god Dumathoin. Her drow friend is Micar’eyl Auvrymtor, a member of Bregan D’aerthe. Branwen also joined the expedition, as did a wizard named Horst. As it was already getting late in the day, we decided to rest for the night and head out for the ruins in the morning.
Micar’eyl proposed a game of cards while we waited, playing for information rather than coin. Which offered some useful intelligence. Valtha told us that the plaguechanged attacking the Wall were catspaws for a greater intelligence deeper in the Chasm. I had suspected as much already. Surely these creatures could overrun our position any time they decide to do so if that was what they wished. Whatever they are after, they are clearly content to stay where they are. For now. Still, it was good to have my theory backed up by someone who has more experience with underground creatures and their behavior.
Micar’eyl told us that she has had dealings with a group of elves who have recently returned from the Feywild. She claims they plan to attack Neverwinter to kill all of the non-elves. Not sure if these elves gave Micar’eyl the full story, but it’s worth investigating.
Branwen said that her time on the Wall was giving her nightmares. She has started sleeping with something called a dreamthief doll, which prevents her from dreaming. Could this be used to help S.? Potential long-term side effects of not dreaming, but could be a possible stopgap measure. Need to investigate ASAP.
As for my part, I shared with them how the Tower of Twilight has been appearing and disappearing sporadically in Neverwinter Wood since the Spellplague. That’s one mystery I’m not sure I know what to do with. If I’m very lucky, one of these magic users might just figure it out for me.
We set out in the morning for the ruins. Valtha led us to the entrance into the tunnels, which lies in the River District. We encountered ash zombies near the entrance — the bodies of people burned to cinders. Could these really be the victims of Mount Hotenow’s eruption, still walking after all these years?
We cut our way through the first wave and made a run for the entrance. Below the surface there was an ancient dwarven catacomb. Hard to believe this could have been right below the River District all along without anyone ever finding it. Valtha performed some kind of ritual to communicate with the spirits of the dead dwarves who once lived in this place. She said the spirits were awoken by Maegera the Inferno and that they were bound to the dragon’s will. This dragon is a young one, seeking status with the fire elementals that worship Maegera.
It would seem that these fire elementals are what caused the eruption 28 years ago. This Maegera is a primordial from the Dawn War. If they were to succeed in releasing him, it would not just be Neverwinter that burns this time, but all of the North.
We continued deeper into the catacombs. We encountered more of the dragon’s undead servants. A mummy guarding the bridge managed to keep me pinned down. Fortunately, my companions were able to deal with the other creatures. Working on a team definitely has its advantages.
Afterward we were approached by three genasi — survivors from Valtha’s previous expedition. Their names were Sultara, Lekythion, and Aban the Giant. They had agreed to work for the dragon, which they called Koravakarios. Koravakarios had sent them to stop us from proceeding any further. Micar’eyl was able to persuade them into betraying the dragon and working with us to slay it.
Koravakarios made its lair in an old sanctum of Dumathoin. The plan was for the genasi to lead Valtha, posing as a prisoner, in through the front. I made sure Valtha’s bindings were loose enough for her to break free when the battle began. Meanwhile, the rest of us entered from the other sides of the sanctum to surround Koravakarios. I charged the dragon along with the genasi and the skeletons summoned by Valtha. Unfortunately, the volcano dragon gathered enough heat to make standing anywhere near it dangerous. It then whipped its tail around and knocked me unconscious.
When I came to, I saw that Valtha’s skeleton companion Indrek had dragged me into another room of the sanctum containing a monument to some dwarven hero. The battle was still raging on outside. Micar’eyl had lured Koravakarios away from the magma pool and into the center of the sanctum. Branwen then shot an arrow over the dragon’s head, hitting an unstable spot in the ceiling just hard enough to bring debris falling down on top of it. Koravakarios clawed its way out of the rubble, finally lifting its head up from the rocks just in time for another arrow from Branwen’s bow to find its way through his eye socket and deep into his brain. Koravakarios dropped dead.
With the beast slain, we inspected the sanctum. The statue in the room where Indrek had brought me bore a dwarven cypher. Valtha determined that it was a monument to a dwarf named Indrek Silentshield, who had apparently saved the dwarves of Gauntlgrym. The same Indrek as Valtha’s companion it would seem. Yet Valtha seemed surprised by this herself. Cannot be a coincidence.
The Keeper of Secrets Under the Mountain shall never forget the tales of heroic deeds done in secret, that no bard will ever praise. Remember Indrek Goldspire. When orcish hordes snuffed out the light of Gauntlgrym, he led the dwarves of Delzoun by the secret roads: by the River of Flame, the Ways in the Dark, and the Paths of the Source Stone. By these secrets he saved the dwarves of Delzoun in their hour of peril, and earned the name of Silentshield.
The genasi told us that there was a Netherese mage named Qalthus deeper in the catacombs. Though weary from the battle with Koravakarios, this was my first solid lead on Netheril’s activities in Neverwinter, and I knew I had to continue on to discover what this mage was up to. I was gladdened to see my companions quickly volunteered to come along as well. After a short rest, we continued on Qalthus’ trail.
Micar’eyl went ahead in an attempt to scout the area before engaging him, but Qalthus was ready for us. He was accompanied by two fire elementals who intercepted anyone trying to attack him. And when one of us did manage to get in close, he would teleport away. So I tried to keep the elementals occupied while the others hit Qalthus with ranged attacks. Eventually, they were able to wound him to the point where he was willing to deal.
Qalthus claimed he sought revenge against the Netherese. He said they blamed him for breaking the mythallar, which caused the fall of Xinlenal the First Enclave. (Xinlenal fell thousands of years ago — Qalthus did not seem like an ancient archmage, though. Could he have been talking about some other, more recent incident instead?)
Qalthus intended to unleash Maegera to destroy the Netherese. Seeing a potential asset with a wealth of information on Netheril, I tried to convince Qalthus that we have a common enemy and to work with us to bring down Netheril. With some added persuasion from Micar’eyl, he seemed to be ready to go for it. He even destroyed the fire elementals that had been protecting him. But as soon as his elementals were gone, Horst fired another barrage of magic missiles at him. Everyone immediately took up arms again, and Qalthus was killed by Horst’s magic missiles. I searched the body but found nothing of value. This lead is dead.
We returned to the sanctum and collected the dragon’s treasure as well as it’s carcass. Branwen hopes to be able to make some food for the Flagon out of it. There was some disagreement over the distribution. Valtha wanted to protect the dwarven artifacts, while Branwen wanted to keep an old painting of Nasher Alagondar for the Flagon. Micar’eyl and Horst simply wanted their share of the loot. I proposed that Valtha and Branwen be allowed to keep anything they consider too significant to sell and simply pay us back the value later by providing us with information.
We returned to the Flagon and ended the night with another game of cards. As we played, a card somehow appeared in my hand that did not match the deck we were using. On it was the image of a half-woman, half-snake creature labeled Euryale. We identified it as a card from the mysterious Deck of Many Things. Though how in the world it ended up in my hand, I haven’t even a guess. I am holding on to the card for now. If nothing else, hopefully my keeping it will prevent someone else from being able to misuse the full deck.
I think I made good progress on earning Valtha’s trust, and though it may merely be typical wizardly overconfidence, she seems to believe that her unique style of magic can offer some countermeasures against Thayan necromancy. If nothing else, she definitely seems to be an expert when it comes to dealing with the undead. Necromancer or not, her knowledge could prove invaluable to someone like Rucas. I plan on making contact with him when possible to see if we can make a deal.
|Micar’eyl Auvrymtor||Expedition into the Dwarven Catacombs|
|Valtha Bonecarver||The Sanctum of Dumathoin|