Date: Mirtul 6th, 1491 DR
This fifty-foot-square chamber was hewn out of rock. The floor was rough but flat, the walls showed the chisel-marks of the original builders, and the ceiling was about ten feet high. Identical stone doors with iron pull-ring handles stand in the middle of two of the other walls. By one of the doors, one with a viewing slit, a large half orc blinked in surprise at the party’s entrance. In the centre of the room stood a life-sized and lifelike statue of a dwarf warrior. Near the statue a small human was pinned, face down, by rocks placed atop his arms, legs, and back. He was barefoot and wore ragged clothes.
The half orc had a club attached to his belt, but he didn’t reach for it. He had a confused expression on his face. After standing and gaping for a moment, he finally said, “You can’t be here. You have to go!”
Ulryn and Natas tried to bluff him but despite appearances of being none too bright, the half orc wasn’t fooled. He was becoming more distressed and they were worried he would reach for his club in desperation. They tried a different tack, playing on his seemingly good nature. They asked him his name – it was Grund – and then asked about the bodies. Grund expressed sadness that they had been murdered and that they had been killed because “Larrakh” had ordered The Believers – the Town Elders – to do it. Larrakh was some kind of priest, Grund knew, but knew little else. He was in charge of a group of thugs called The Bringers of Woe who wore stone masks.
“They might be the ones threatening the quarry workers at night,” suggested Ulryn.
Grund went on to say The Believers met with Larrakh most nights, including tonight. The priest usually met with them in the room with moving stones, and the half orc pointed to the door opposite to the one he was guarding. When asked about his task, Grund told them he was told to watch the passageway and make sure no one he didn’t know came past this room. Never had this happened, hence his concern and worry when the party entered via the side door. Grund told them the Town Elders used him for various tasks, this guard duty being just one, and paid him for it.
Meanwhile Windypop, Kallista and Farideh were getting restless. Farideh decided to explore further up the passageway, not aware at this point it led to the door that the half orc Grund was guarding. She made her way up the passageway, and then two things happened at once. Kallista and Windypop who were still at the intersection with the statues observed the door they had come through open, and several figures in stone masks and wielding weapons, the lead figure with a torch, entered and whooped when they saw the two adventurers. The other thing that happened was Farideh fell into a pit trap, which wounded her badly. Hearing the commotion, she decided to stay where she was. Not knowing what had happened to her, Kallista and Windypop yelled out to her that they’d draw the intruders away, and they sped up the passageway that the others had gone down. The new force made threats with their rough voices about what they were going to do to them when they caught them.
At this time Ulryn, Natas and Kallista saw Grund turn back and look through the viewing slit, and say “oh no! The Bringers of Woe!”
“Grund, you stay here, guard your post as you’ve been told,” said Natas, thinking quickly. “We’ll deal with the Bringers of Woe!” Grund nodded and turned back to his viewing slit.
The party met in the room with the floating rock and made a stand there. The Bringers of Woe charged at them, but could only come at them one at a time or they’d get in each other’s way. They tried to crash past Kallista and Esplen, but the big tiefling warrior shoved them back, and then drew her greatsword and cut into the first one before he could recover. The man then had his stone mask smashed, and significant damage to the face beneath it from a mighty blow from Esplen, who had used a shillelagh spell to make her staff an even better weapon. Arrows and crossbow bolts from the rest of the party peppered the Bringers of Woe, and those Bringers at the rear did the same thing with their crossbows. Natas and Windypop were having trouble sighting the enemy due to Kallista’s large frame blocking the entrance to the room, and decided it would be a good idea to use the levitation properties of the area to float in the air so they could better see their targets. This worked really well, however it also meant Natas and Windypop were also targets and Natas took several crossbow bolts to the body and he felt himself propelled backwards and losing consciousness. Ulryn, who had been using mind magic like vicious mockery againt the Bringers, stopped and applied first aid to Natas to stop him bleeding out. Windypop then cast a cure wounds spell on Natas, which brought the bard back to consciousness. Natas immediately returned to the battle, using mind spells to attack the Bringers and inspiring songs and poetry to bolster the party’s effectiveness, as Ulryn had been doing. The battle otherwise had been going well; soon all but one of the Bringers of Woe were dead, the last one fled but Natas cast dissonant whispers at him and he collapsed to the ground screaming and holding his ears before twitching and lying still.
The party had a quick search for Farideh, but didn’t find her, unaware she was stuck down a pit. They thought that perhaps she had fled back out when the Bringers of Woe had gone past. The party dragged the bodies into the same room as the victims and all returned to the room with Grund and the boy under the rocks.
[To be continued]…