present: Nilbud, Hammerdal, Eldorin, Khalo
As soon as the whole party makes their way across the rope line, Nilbud wall-walks across the chasm to disable the line, lest the 2 UMBERHULKS and 10 ANKHEGS attempt to follow us. We go down the chimney-like opening in the wall, away from the fight. The way is so cramped, Khalo and Eldorin take a level of exhaustion (Mortifer, however, is unaffected (: ) Falling out of the chimney into a massive clearing, Hammerdal disturbs what appear to be bats…but they disappear. As the rest of the group makes their way through the clearing, they see the large room of stone walls is flickering with light fixtures within the walls. In neat piles, seemingly randomly distributed, are piles of precious metals and gems and…displayed conspicuously atop some of these piles, items that had been pilfered from the group’s pockets earlier in the caves.
Nilbud looks for tracks. The floor is suspiciously clean; not even any sign of guano from the (assumedly) normal bats perched above, who so far are just watching us. Khalo looks for traps. He discovers that the sources of light, burning filaments behind glass sitting in the stone walls, are trapped: if triggered, an electrical current would explode throughout the room.
Nilbud sees her black candles on top of a pile, and Hammerdal sees his token of Mediena (gifted to him by Elias) on a different pile. As he goes to grab it, it floats up in the air, as if taunting Hammerdal, before it disappears. “Uh…guys?”
The group decides to deliberately set off the trap from the safety of the one doorway present in the cavern (an ornate doorway, framed in stone carved to look like dragon arms, each stone scale precise and meticulous). As they walk into the room, they are greeted by the sight of dozens of WYRMKIN in what appears to be a barracks. The room itself is a giant metal dome, retaining the fluid pattern of the molten copper it was poured from. Though they are positioned defensively behind overturned bedding and furniture, Hammerdal bq). senses no immediate danger. Nilbud notices they have recent injuries.
The only member of the group who speaks DRACONIC, Eldorin, overhears their chatter: “Who are they?/Why are they here?/The BUKKA let them through!” Eldorin steps forward and says to them:
Servants of the Great One! We wish to speak with your master!
“He sleeeeepsss,” the closest Wyrmkin, presumably the leader, says. The other Wyrmkin repeat this.
He will speak with us. We are old friends of the Great One.
“But he sleeeeepsssss!” they all repeat. The Wyrmkin are skeptical; Eldorin doesn’t look that old to them. Eldorin creates an illusion of a light that seems to emanate from him, and whispers mentally to several of them simultaneously messages of the our prowess, history with the Great One, and how we belong. The group is successfully intimidated, and allow the party to pass to face THE TEST. We enter a narrow passageway on the other side of the room, led by the lead Wyrmkin. We immediately trigger a trap that sends sharp pikes stabbing from the ceiling. Eldorin absorbs the hit and angrily instructs the Wyrmkin to warn them of any other “safety mechanisms” in the tunnels. The Wyrmkin explain that they have been fighting THE SEERS, which to the best of our understanding are mounted spiders.
Through the passageway, we come across another large room, with two other exits: a bright, crafted doorway directly across from where we entered, and second earthen passage to the left, which appears to lead upwards. The ground is covered in dead bodies, a thick layer of mist, and the stench of death. We see the bodies of Wyrmkin, PALLID DWARVES, the Seers/spiders and some kind of reptilian beasts. Some of the bodies are turned to STONE.
We move on through the bright door, and come to a 40′×40′ room, with a high copper dome ceiling. Bones are everywhere. Melted, burned, shattered and exploded bones. In the center of the room, a large metal column reaches all the way up to the ceiling. It is covered in gears, valves, buttons, tubing and wiring. There are 5 prominent levers all around the column, each a different color, each in the “up” position. On opposite sides, two clock-like displays read “6” and “12.” This appears to be the TEST the Wyrmkin spoke of. On the far side of the room is a giant bronze door with no seams or hinges or cracks. As we enter the room, metal bars slam shut behind us, blocking any retreat…and the countdown begins.
The two clocks begin to count down. Hammerdal runs to the bronze door and swings the INDAHAMMER against it with no effect. Eldorin hits the a large red button on the side, and the timer that was counting down from “12” goes up by 6 seconds. Nilbud pulls the purple lever down, and both timers go to “0.” Electricity explodes from the center of the room, and magic missiles are launched at us. Ouch. The timers reset. It is clear, now, that all of the bones in this room were killed by the effects of this test. Nilbud climbs the tower and inspects the inner workings of this machine. The levers control the main functions. Hammerdal runs and attempts to pull down all the levers, getting all but one (purple) before one of the timers hits zero, and all party members make a Charisma save to avoid being struck helpless with uncontrollable laughter. Khalo alone succeeds, but is grappled by a MAGIC HAND. He investigates and determines that two of the levers go to the “6” timer, and three of the levers go to the “12” timer. The timers hit zero and reset, and this time both Eldorin and Khalo resist the laughing spell. Realizing that this is a very benign consequence, they decide to keep the lever configurations as they are and study further. Several rounds pass as some fall to the laughter, others recover. We learn the Red, Blue, and Green levers control the primary mechanism.
So that R-B-G remain switched down, Nilbud flips the orange lever up. All areas of the room are scorched in a magical explosion. Hammerdal falls. Eldorin uses MISTY STEP to go beyond the metal bars and back into the room with mist and corpses. He shares the room with a tentacled BEHOLDER watching the events in the Test Room with interest. Saving the party from certain death, Eldorin uses MAGE HAND to flip the orange switch back up, leaving us with only the laughing spell to deal with. He wisely MISTY STEPs back into the room to avoid the Beholder. Hammerdal gets back to his feet as the party struggles to survive. Finally, with only the red and blue levers down, the machine deactivates. The large bronze door opens, and we leave the room as fast as we can.
We enter a massively broad and deep cavern. We cannot see the ceiling. It’s excruciatingly hot, as if inside an oven. The ground is covered in a branching pattern of dried riverbeds, and active rivers and rivulets flowing with a silvery liquid that seems to be dripping from the ceiling. All of the rivers lead to the edge of a cliff at the far end of the room. Dun-colored figures are rushing toward us…WYRMLINGS. Beyond them… Maegwir.
Stunned by our presence, he dons the FLAME OF THERILOR and yells “Shut the door!” Nilbud immediately puts on her CLOAK and disappears. Eldorin shuts the door. Khalo, using all of his charm (X’arrm?) shouts out:
Maegwir! we’ve been looking for you! We’ve got to talk!
Maegwir, meanwhile, has his eyes on the INDAHAMMER. “Copper! Give it to me!” The WYRMLINGS have reached us…and continue to run past us. Nilbud, invisible, moves closer to Maegwir. Khalo continues:
We must discuss…payment! uh…to get information from you. Why are you here?
“To Awaken Brondurium.”
Hey, us too!
Khalo successfully stalled long enough for Nilbud to get reach Maegwir. She attempts to stun him…and succeeds! She grabs the crown and attemps to pull it off his head, but the crown itself resists! It also resists Eldorin’s attempt to do so with MAGE HAND.
The Wyrmlings, who had run to barricade the closed door against whatever was banging on it from the other side, saw Maegwir under attack and looked ready to begin an attack. Hammerdal brandishes the Indahammer and promises death to the first creature that takes a step forward. They falter, for the moment.
Khalo runs forward and succeeds in ripping the FLAME OF THERILOR from Maegwir’s head, and the runs back. Eldorin casts BANISHMENT, and Maegwir disappears!
We decide to go forth to the edge, and peer into the darkness, looking for any sign of Brondurium. Nilbud, informed from a fresh vision of the past after wearing her cloak, teaches Hammerdal the WALL OF FEAR properties of the Indahammer. He excitedly tries it, slamming it down into one of the dried riverbeds. The handle begins to melt where it touches the ground. Whoops!
We investigate the Flame of Therilor. Eldorin (crit 1) believes the crown only likes older, more powerful elves than him. Hammerdal attempts to smash it with the Indahammer, but succeeds only in knocking off a few gems from the setting of the hammer. Whoops! We try to melt the crown in the same riverbed that melted part of the hammer, but nothing happens. Eldorin holds the crown ceremoniously and calls forth Brondurium. Khalo prays to Brondurium. He believes that the dragon can only be called forth when copper and tin are mixed. The only source of copper we have (at least the characters that aren’t in-pocket!) is the Indahammer.
Hammerdal dips the handle of the Indahammer into a nearby flowing metallic river and melts more of the copper handle. At this moment, the giant door burst open, and in floats the BEHOLDER, flanked by six PALLID DWARVES riding BASILISKS, two pallid dwarves on foot, and two of the illusion-casting SPIDERS we had fought before. The WYRMLINGS move to stand on either side of the door, seeming to wait for something. The ground rumbles, and stops. With reluctance and gravity, Hammerdal drops the entire Indahammer into the river, and watches it dissolve. (Within moments, his new-found confidence had left him, and his desperation to leave these tunnels returned.) The ground begins violently quaking, and the party barely manages to stay standing on the edge of the precipice. The Beholder retreats through the door.
“The Elder Wyrm,” “The Last Light,” “Light’s Vengeance," rises from the darkness. Lightning explodes forth from him, arcing out and evaporating all enemies while leaving the party and the Wyrmlings unscathed (not unlike the Ark of the Covenant (: ) Maegwir re-appears after the Banishment spell is completed, and Nilbud cold-cocks him into another stun, binding and gagging him. The great dragon sets his giant legs down on the edge of the cliff, on either side of the adventurers as they stand in awe. It turns its giant body and neck around to look at us. Eldorin speaks. “Grounded One: the Lost have returned.” Brondurium rumbles in reply:
What are the Lost?
“We are the SONS of the WYRMS.”
So are they.
“They are the failed sons.”
You are the failed sons.
“That may be, but we seek peace; they seek war.” Eldorin and Nilbud tell Brondurium of the Lost Wars. The dragon considers, and says:
I must seek proof of what you say. Why did you awaken me?
“We seek your assistance. We want peace with the Lost underground.”
That, I can do. I hope I have not been awakened in vain….
and with that, the great dragon lifted off of the ground, and disappeared down into the chasm from which he came.
Nilbud gives Maegwir another clock on the jaw, for good measure. Suddenly, Finrodel appears and says haughtily “Give him to me. And the crown. Thank you.”
Mistrust abounds. Reluctantly, Nilbud hands over Maegwir while Eldorin keeps the Flame of Therilor secured in a drawstring bag. Finrodel and Maegwir DISAPPEAR. Khalo and Eldorin are, overall, pretty happy with how things turned out! Finrodel REAPPEARS, and says:
Come. Galgaroth is watching Maegwir. Grab hands.
Nilbud mentions Galgaroth’s treachery with Elias as we grab hands are are teleported back to Oakenfell. At the sight of the sun, Hammerdal falls to his knees and sobs, overcome with emotion. Nilbud, unsettled by Finrodel’s actions and the stonewalling the group receives even in the safety of Oakenfell, dons her cloak, disappears, and LEAVES.
to be continued…
Eldorin and Hammerdal have inspiration. Nilbud and Hammerdal have crit 20 cards to spend