The Stone-Hearted

44 Oontrom, Pass of 3820: The Scorched Earth

Escape From the Burning Lands

An uneasy truce settles over the room. The salamander retreats into the forge and the Dwarven heroes slowly relax. Aeric Forgekin rejoined his fellows and the dwarves took stock. The room was filled with the production of the strange black spheres and such a precious potential resource was not likely to be squandered by this group of industrial Dwarves.

Filling their sacks with metal, they then switched their focus to escaping the palace. Quickly they retreated to a disused storeroom to avoid any salamander patrol that could have heard them fighting. Hiding in crates and boxes they remained unfound. Azgan turned his attentions to the stone vent in the ceiling and created a portal through which they could escape.

After several long minutes of crawling through the ancient ventilation system, guided by Ranina’s talents, the group happened upon a chimney leading up and out. They sent up the best climbers to set pitons and ropes but alas, disaster. A rock fall split the group and trapped half of them in the vents.

They continued on, trying to find another exit when they stumbled upon a lair of Thoqqua. Azgan’s knowledge of the creatures was surprisingly good, surrounded by stone, his link to Dumathoin was strong. The creature struck with surprise and ferocity, it’s fiery maw scorching and singing. Azgan channelled holy power through his silver symbol – the multi-faceted gem within a mountain – and displayed the power of The Sage. Awestruck by the display of earthen power, the elemental ceased it’s attack and prostrated itself before the group. Azgan, not quite sure what had happened, could sense the worm in his mind. He thought about it lying down and stopping it’s attack, and it did!

The exhausted group of crawling dwarves continued on towards the portal chamber but as they approached, they found it guarded by a giant salamander, relaxing in a bath. They tried to sneak past it but were unable to avoid it’s detection for long. Rather than sit around waiting to be discovered, they decided to make a new tunnel leading out to a neighbouring estate. Azgan thought about the Thoqqua making them a tunnel and it hurriedly obeyed. So strange was the link he had developed.

They squeezed through the scorching tunnel and eventually made their way to a chamber where the ventilation tunnels exited. After a couple of slices, they were able to bypass the axe-trap and make their way into the chamber proper.

Hanging in the centre they saw a giant copper ring which they figured to be another portal of the dead mage’s creation. Embedded in the centre of the copper column was a giant worked gemstone of incalculable value. Naturally, their first goal became it’s recovery.

Unfortunately lying in wait beneath the portal was an entire colony of Thoqqua, thankfully asleep and unaware of the dwarven intrusion. They devised a plan of ropes and flying-foxes to retrieve the gem and escape to the far side, and were almost successful but alas the gem along with a sack of the mysterious metal was lost, but at least there was no loss of life. One other added bonus was a further follower of elemental earth was added to Azgan’s retinue.

The small group of dwarves and even smaller group of fiery earth-worms continue their search for their lost companions and escape from the burning lands from the relative safety of the far platform.

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