Thunder roared through the cavern as the travelers awakened from their rest. As the others rested Gribendr had been meditating and burning incense. As his companions stirred Gribendr began a low chant in a strange tongue. The smoke from the incense ceased rising and began to swirl into a small form in front of the kneeling cleric. Slowly an owl shape appeared and with a small popping sound the smoke figure became a real owl. The owl flitted around to each resting member and then returned to Gribendr to rest upon his shoulder.
Finding several passageways out, Gribendr, without saying a word, sent his new familiar north to peer down the hall, as Alyriia began straight ahead to the east. Gribendr, looking through his familiars eyes was able to make out a blast furnace and a mechanical bellows powered by a waterwheel dominate this large chamber. The furnace is cold and dark, but heaps of coal are piled nearby, along with a cart full of unrefined iron ore. The waterwheel sits in a ten-foot-wide channel cut into the floor of the room, but the channel is dry. Passages exit to the west, south, and east. The empty channel exits to the north and east. As Gribendr snaps out of it, he looks around, realizing everyone had left him alone. He quickly scurried across the room to his companions.
Alyriia led the group up a narrow stairway, giving everyone behind her death stares with every noise made. Creeping forward, Alyriia was able to remain a shadow in the walls, peering around the corner a faint green glow flickered from a distance. More than a dozen withered corpses were scattered around the room. These slain dwarves and orcs and ogres were still wearing the remnants of their armor. Floating above them was a skull engulfed in green flame. Turning to the group, finding Threx and Rahm right up her butt as they clattered and stumbled through the hall. The green light began to grow as it followed the noises. Alyriia was able to get one shot as the Skull began to mutter with its slack jaw, a sort of chant, as the corpses all around the room began to rise up.
Rahm was quick to crawl up the wall as a Giant Spider, slinging his butt towards the skull, sending a web flying. It took only a moment for the web netting to go up in green flames and fall to the floor. Threx sprung forward as he was quickly surrounded by the animated corpses. Gribendrs familiar owl swooped in from across the room, landing right on Threx, Gribendr muttered a few words as a light burst forwards from the owl onto Threx, protecting him against undead creatures. Alyriia once again appeared out of thin air, firing at the flaming skull, before jumping back into the shadows. The Green Skull, looking extremely aggravated with this recent turn of events, seemingly took a huge breath in, letting out a massive FireBall on everything in its path. Except for Alyriia, because she has ultimate luck and stealth. Threx and Gribendr took turns slashing and smashing at the zombies and Green skull, Cassie took a step up and sent an Ice Knife into the heart of one as it exploded hitting another beside it. Meushi took a step up to Cassie, sending fire bursts at the skull, followed by a Ray of Frost. Unfortunately Meushi’s magic backfired, doing nothing to the skull, but instead the magic contained within her surged, shrinking her into a small potted plant. Alyriia appeared near the new house plant, shoving it aside as she made a shot for the skull, then picked up the shrubbery and backflipped away, setting the plant down out of harm’s way.
From the front lines, Rahm switched into his Brown Bear form, taking down one more animated man. From behind the skull he saw a hand larger than his body grasp onto the ground from outside a deep crevasse. Gribendr took a step forward holding his pendant up chanting as he stepped forward, Casting Turn Undead. Unable to warn the Group, because he was a bear, Rahm let out a growl towards the back of the cavern. Hearing the Roar, the massive Undead Ogre charged toward the bear, smashing down with his colossal club, bashing Rahm right out of his bear form.
Meushi’s inner magic surged once again, as she grew back into her Tiefling form. No longer a potted plant. Hearing the commotion, Alyriia jumped forward firing an arrow towards the new large foe, disappearing back into the shadows as quickly as she came. Rahm darted beside the Green Skull and through the mob of Zombies, attempting to get as far from the Zombie Ogre as his feet would allow. As the Green Skull saw a flash of Halfling run by, It let out a large fire blast from its mouth, sending it down the cluttered hallway. Cassie was barely able to avoid the fiery grasp, feeling the heat nearly searing her eyebrows, letting out an aggressive attack, killing one Zombie on the spot. Meushi stepped forward, standing next to Cassie, as she let loose several spirals of fire towards the Ogre. The ogre reeled from the impact of the fire and stumbled sideways. Gribendr seized the opportunity and swung a mighty blow at the creature’s legs. The undead flesh was already falling apart and Talon cleaved through what remained. Whatever magic had held it together was no longer enough and the ogre’s form plopped onto the floor as no more than a rotting pile of meat and bone.
Alyriia, from behind everyone, jumped up onto the altar in the center of the room, releasing an arrow with a force so strong it sent the skull flying across the room, pinning it to the wall across the cavern. The flame surrounding the skull fizzled out.
Looking around at the now lifeless room, the group didn’t say anything, but looked very pleased with one another. Continuing into the furnace room, they looked around for any traces of any other creature, or helpful clues.
Alyriia and Gribendr hopped down into the crevasse, heading towards the Northern passageway. As they rounded the corner they spotted a very familiar looking Drow female across a canyon. Alyriia hustled Gribendr back the way they came as quick as he would allow, shutting his lantern to avoiding being detected by the Doppelganger.
Meanwhile Meushi ventured west, finding the first hallway Gribendr’s familiar flew down. At the end was a large wooden door. She crept up to it, listening in, hearing arguing in an unknown language. She backed away, and headed back to the group. Gribendr, Alyriia, Cassie, and Meushi regrouped, sharing what they had found, coming to the conclusion it would be best to continue east in search of a place to rest to recuperate. They found Threx and Rahm wandering around the furnace, Rahm on Threx’s shoulders smoking from his pipe.
They began following Alyriia east, being as quiet as possible (which wasn’t very). Right before following Alyriia down the dark hallway, Gribendr took one final glance at the no longer flaming skull. Still pinned to the wall by Alyriia’s arrow, but several of the skull’s fractures had begun to seal up. Horrified by the realization that the cracks were slowly disappearing as he watched, he whispered to Meushi to wait, as the others continued forward.
Gribendr, feared this creature was not yet vanquished, but he had no idea what he could do. He had already tried to ensure it would not rise again by searing it with his sacred flame but it seemed to have no effect. Desperate to find a way to destroy this evil creature he reached into his pack and pulled out his blessed rune dice. Making a small prayer to Bahamut and seeking the guidance of his god, he asked “If we leave this creature as it is will we be safe?” before casting the dice. The dice bounced across the stone floor as he studied their arrangement, hoping they would reveal some message. The runes clearly indicated that leaving the skull undisturbed would bring woe upon the group. As he studied the message one rune in particular caught his eye. A symbol of the good gods seemed to glisten and Gribendr remembered an old clerical saying “Purification proceeds from opposition. Good casts out evil as water quenches flame.”
Gribendr knew that holy water was what he needed but he did not have any. Desperate for any chance, he began rustling in his pack and pulled out a waterskin and a small ritual bowl. Pouring the water into the bowl, he placed his pendant of Bahamut’s crest in the water and began chanting in a low voice. Some moments later he felt the warmth of Bahamut’s presence flow through him and into the bowl of water. Firmly holding his holy symbol in the bowl he began to pour the water over the skull as it’s hollow, empty eyes began to flicker with renewed energy and life. But where the blessed water touched the skull it crumbled to ash before their very eyes. When it was done only a damp pile of ashes remained.
Finishing his task, he turned to Meushi, as they rejoined the group down the hall.
Alyriia ahead of the group entered another vast cavern, the ceiling was covered with minerals glittering upon catching even the faintest flicker of light, glimmering down creating the impression of a starry night sky. The floor was crowded with skeletons, several crushed from fallen debris.
The cave was so large it held two free standing structures. Both of which had been battered and blackened over the many years of being underground. Their doors were worn, cracked, and scorched.
The cavern was divided by an escarpment, into which a flight of stairs had been cut. In addition to the passage Alyriia was entering from, the cavern had exits to the north and south. The southern passageway glowing with a faint green light.
Alyriia was quiet to approach the northern structure without a sound, unfortunatly she was closely followed by the bumbling, babbling, conspicuous duo, Threx and Rahm. She turned to them with a deathly glare, as they both second guessed their next step forward. Without closely following, she was able to creep up to the northernmost door. Inside she found a small empty room with another door to the south. However from behind the second door an eerily green glow flickered through the cracks. She turned from the building, returning to the group.
Rahm hesitated only as long as his attention span would allow, and he entered the northern door. He laid his head on the ground, pressing his face against the second door, attempting to peer underneath. He was able to make out a large workshop badly damaged by the ancient spell battle that laid waste to the mine. Worktables that took up two corners of the room were left scorched, and the plaster has been burned off the masonry walls, and in the middle of the room, a stone pedestal held a small brazier in which an eerie green flame danced and crackled. The brazier and its pedestal appeared to have been untouched by the forces that destroyed this area.
Outside, Alyriia, Gribendr, and Meushi waited up against the cavern wall, far from the door. Threx followed closely, with Cassie behind him, inside the first door.
Rahm entered the scorched room he was looking in. As Rahm approached the enticing green flames of the brazier, a creature could be seen watching Rahm from behind the flames. The floating spherical creature, measuring roughly four feet in diameter, had several eyestalks protruding from its central mass, and in the center of its body was a large eye, staring at Rahm.
Rahm felt a thick, burbling voice from within his own mind, “Hello.” As the creature grinned, revealing it’s large toothy maw.
Forge of Spells