Date: Mirtul 6th, 1491 DR
The boy was Braelen, an eleven year old boy who was being punished by being pinned under rocks for two days for failing to deliver a note for the Believers. The party took off the rocks and gave him some food and water.
Most of the Town Council were Believers, which had something to do, Grund and Braelen knew, with the moving rocks in one of the larger areas. The same one where Larrakh, the priest who seemed to have such an influence on the Town Elders, hung out. Grund was happy that the party took the rocks off the boy, but Braelen was distressed that he was going to be punished further because the punishment ended sooner. He asked the party to put the rocks back.
The statue of a dwarf warrior was wearing a chain shirt, helm, and big boots. He carried a shield on his left arm and a battleaxe in his right hand. The statue has clearly been broken into several parts, the head and upper torso, lower torso, and legs were all seperate pieces. These pieces have been reassembled and held together and upright in a stout wooden frame. A dagger along with several coins and gems lie on the floor in
front of the statue, surrounded by an ring of fine gravel. Ulryn did a detect magic spell, but the ring wasn’t magic, but the dagger was. Grund said the dagger – which still had blood on the blade – was the one used to kill the people in the other room. Ulryn took the dagger and Natas took the coins and gems.
The party went out the door they had yet to explore, and found a short corridor where an older man cringed and begged for mercy. He was Baragustas, a retired carpenter who did jobs for the Town Elders. Currently it was looking after Larrakh, making sure he had food and drink and whatever he wanted. When questioned Baragustas admitted that he knew that three of the Town Elders, under the command of Larrakh, had killed one person each as a type of sacrifice to an Earth spirit. He named them as Marlandro Gaelkur, Albaeri Mellikho and Ilmeth Waelvur. Baragustas stated Larrakh encouraged the Town Elders to make offerings of coins and valuables around the dwarf statue, but later he would come and take them and give them to his crew – The Bringers of Woe. This group of Town Elders were called The Believers because they believed that the moving stones in the next room had properties of divination, and they met to try and interpret what the Delvers, the original creators of this space, where trying to tell them through the stones. It was harmless enough at first, but when Larrakh came and offered to interpret, things became grim and dark, culminating in the sacrificial murder of three kidnapped travellers, chosen because no one would miss them immediately.
The party entered the next room, ready to fight. It was an enormous chamber with a twenty foot high ceiling carved out of the rock. A lit lantern rested on the floor near the centre of the room. An odd array of stone monoliths – some upright standing stones, and others arranged in three-stone arches – stood around the chamber. Six low stone slabs were set against the walls around the perimeter of the room. Each held humanoid bones, dressed in scraps of tattered cloth and rusted iron.
Windypop caught sight of movement overhead and warned the party – Larrakh was on the ceiling, standing as if it were the floor! He was presenting a stone holy symbol as if getting ready to cast a spell. The party moved quickly into action – Kallista climbed onto a monolith and grabbed hold of Larrakh, crushing him to her, his head upside down in her breasts. As she had a fully armoured chest, it was not as much fun as he might have hoped. Ulryn also tried to climb a monolith and failed. He settled for drawing his bow and firing at what parts of Larrakh he could see without hitting Kallista. Larrakh was struggling and trying to free his arms to cast a spell, but she held him tight. He pushed his head away, just in time to take an arrow to the mouth, piercing his brain. Kallista dropped him and herself to the ground, in what they would describe later as a piledriver to her armoured crotch. It was nothing like that, of course, but regardless, Larrakh was dead. They searched his body and found he had a holy symbol of the triangle, the same as that carved into the forehead of the victims. He also had four small Mirabar trade bars, spindle shaped and made of black iron. Trade bars were currancy, usually between merchants. These were worth about 5 gold pieces each.
They explored the area, discovering the bones on the slabs were many decades, if not over a century old. They were human, not dwarvish, and appeared to have suffered injuries consistent with mining accidents – crushed skull, pelvis or ribcage. Baragustas said that these were “the Delvers” who spoke through the moving stones. While they were there, a small earth tremor was felt – and the Moving Stones moved! Baragustas stood open mouthed, realising that all this time it wasn’t the spirits of the Delvers who moved the stones, but the earth tremors.
A door out of the room led to a stone quarry belonging to Mellikho Stoneworks. It was dark outside, dawn was still many hours away. They dumped Larrakh’s body in the middle of the quarry as a message to the Town Elders. Natas gave the Mirabar trade bars to Grund and 20 silver pieces to Baragustas as a bribe to keep quiet if the Town Elders demanded answers about what had happened.
“Tell them only that they were masked and you have no idea who they were,” he said. They agreed.
[To be continued]