The Stone-Hearted

42 Oontrom, Pass of 3820 - The Scorched Earth
Gem Hunt

As the door slowly slid open and we entered the wizard’s domain, a booming voice appeared from nowhere, and everywhere. The voice welcomed us and challenged us to beat the labyrinth in order to become apprenticed or die.

Ha, do these wizard’s actually listen to themselves? His hubris, when we spill it out on the cold stones, will taste all the sweeter.

We were immediately set upon by a ghostly wraith, who, before we could even react had incapacitated our king. The apparition managed to drain some of us of our very essence before we could dissipate it’s energy and continue. It was decided that Brodria and Jornum would watch over Dragor’s unconscious form until we returned.

An obsidian cube waited at the end of the corridor with strange runes written on each side. As I leaned against the stone wall contemplating it, it occurred to me to touch the box and suddenly the symbols made sense to me. “OPEN ME.”

Within, a riddle, involving colours and positions. Pocketing the clue we pressed on. A corridor of blue and white tiles stood before us. Aeric discovered, by stepping on one, that the blue tiles were hinged and opened into the pit below and would have fell if not for Orlof’s quick hand. He did note, as he dangled, a copper door in the pit 20ft below.

More carefully we descended to enter the door. Within was the stuff of nightmares. Hundreds of bones, of all sorts of creatures, stood out from the walls and sickeningly swayed to some unfeeling breeze. I still don’t know how they talked me into crawling through that hell-tube.

Following our instincts we hopped through a room adorned with the symbols of the gods. Maybe we were lucky but we exited the room unscathed.

Aeric noticed a pressure plate at the next intersection and almost everyone managed to jump over it easily but unfortunately I stumbled and fell, setting off a trap before we were beckoned by the cries of a damsel in distress.

A statue of a water nymph pleading with us for a splash of water. Eager to flex their heroic, manly, muscles in-front of this skinny damsel, Orlof and Aeric fell over each other in their eagerness to oblige her and were rewarded with a fiery explosion and lesson in caution along with a shining green emerald.

Busy reprimanding me for my previous stumble, seemingly forgetting his more recent foolishness, Aeric stepped on another pressure plate causing the floor to fall out below us and send us sliding deeper into the dungeon. I guess exiting is a problem we’ll worry about later.

At the next intersection, Aeric boldy stepped onto the trap, challenging it to smite him as it promptly dumped litres of acid on his head. I think perhaps some acid may have slid into his ear and affected his brain.

Faced with 3 options, we chose a door and were faced with a puzzle. After a minor setback, we solved it and were rewarded with a beautiful blue sapphire.

Another door, another trial. This time a hallway ending in spikes. Luckily the pressure plate was spotted and the diamond prize retrieved without anyone being pierced by them.

The next chamber held a flint guardian on a stone bridge above a room of molten wax. Dumathoin’s knowledge granted me the idea of softening the bridge under the golem, sending him chest deep in the stone and clay and stuck, unable to attack us.

The passage beyond held 2 more doors. The one on the left, yeilded another chance for Aeric to spring a trap, which he promptly did, receiving another gemstone for his trouble. The one on the right held a gargoyle who, after much searching, opened into a passage beyond.

Before we entered the passage, however, the previously defeated wraith returned to feed on our souls again. We cannot afford to encounter it much further without falling to his deathly embrace.

33 - 42 Oontrom, Pass of 3820 - The Scorched Earth
Ranina's Diary

Dear Reader

Salamanders. Avoid them at all costs.

I get ahead of myself slightly. We entered the burning lands and it was hot. Worse than I have ever encountered. Thankfully Orlof had a spell that could counteract the elements and five of us were able to benefit. We’ll have to take turns, but it’ll be worth it. The land here is devoid of all life. Nary an animal or insect to be seen or heard. Given how hot it was down there it’s not surprising. Surprisingly we managed to get quite far before we discovered a body of a dwarf. It had long since desiccated in the constant heat and was nothing more than a mummified corpse. But he was of dwarven blood so we did right by him and buried him, of a sorts. He did, however, have a letter with a map and a swallowed broach. The broach he wanted returned to his family, as well as news of his death to his descendants in Embla.

The letter told of a magic repelling shield within a labyrinth of caves and passages. It was worth finding seeing as we needed items for taking back our home. On our way towards the find, we encountered the salamanders. They are vile, hot and hard to hit. We fought our way through, but not without injuries. It seemed that as I was caught, one of the bastards all but crushed me to near death… I was unconscious for who knows how long but when I awoke it was to Dragor holding my hand and Orlof healing me. I have no idea how close to death I was, but with the worried looks I would hazard it was close.
We continued on until we can across a massive cavern… all but infested with salamanders and getting hotter with each step closer. Thankfully the consensus was to follow the map into the opposite caverns and go for some good old fashion treasure hunting. Brodria and I navigated the labyrinth and only came across one group of zombie walkers, which Azgan managed to fend off. All I remember is that they were created by dying of unquenched thirst and that they’d sap the moisture right out of us.
We got to the end and found the first dwarf’s brother inside. It was initially unclear what happened but by how we found lightening arcing around when a cube was knocked off a statue’s hand, it seemed obvious what happened. Searching yielded almost nothing until Brodria found a secret door. Naturally, we went in once we worked out how to open it. (Put the cube from the hand into the wall).

I’ll leave what we found as a surprise for the next entry.

3 - 10 Oontrom, Pass of 3820: Into the Abyss
from The Tale of the Stonehearted: Final myconid battle recap

Now that the party was mostly back together they decided to help the Myconid with their fight against the illness that was destroying their community. Armed with a bottle of what appeared to be some kind of poison they headed off to what they hoped would be the final battle, still badly affected by their recent experiences. After trekking a fair distance to the giant Myconid ‘tower’ they fashioned a clever (although faintly absurd) disguise out of a zurhkwood cap and approached their enormous foe.

Having climbed to the top of the tower the group was ready to attack when the central Myconid (seemingly the source of all the trouble) convinced Dragor, Azgan and Aeric to collapse to the floor. Fortunately Brodria and Orloff managed to awaken their fallen comrades and fight off the waves of creatures that were summoned to destroy them, although there were moments when it seemed as though all were lost. Aeric managed to pour the poison where it needed to go and for a brief moment the dwarves allowed themselves to celebrate, only to realise their once stable platform was starting to crumble. Once again they were scrambling to save themselves and in the mad race to the relative safety of the ground it seemed several members of the group had fallen to their death. Fortunately Azgan created a safe haven for them at the last possible moment and, once again, it seemed as though the gods had smiled on them.

Joined once again by Ranina, Jhornim and Stump they traveled back to the Myconid king to give it the good news and hopefully receive some supplies in exchange for their efforts. After spending time harvesting a variety of mushrooms (with uses ranging from food to weapons to containers) the dwarves turned their focus to the next part of their journey. Jhornim warned them that the Burning Lands were worse than anything they had encountered so far but he was willing to lead them through as he continued on his quest for the Ship of the Night. The group counted their rations, repacked their bags with their new fungus based supplies and prepared themselves for the trials ahead.

58-60 Sognathos, Pass of 3820: Into the Abyss
Brodria's Journal

58 Sognathos

Just when I think we are back on track and pursuing our original goal we seem to immediately run into more trouble. The Myconid seem harmless enough but I can’t shake the feeling that all these mind links my companions are creating are not wise in the long run. Nevertheless it seemed practical to join their odd circle and sleep as we desperately needed the rest. Dragor is the dwarf that seems to bind this group together and they seem to be struggling without him, so we need to hurry up and find him.

59 Sognathos

Today brought terrible news as we woke to discover two more members of our party missing. At some point in the night Ranina and Azgan disappeared, and Jhornim and Aeric seemed to be affected in an odd way. Despite my best efforts I could not track the missing two – there were just too many footprints leading in too many directions – but eventually Jhornim found their discarded gear (although only the metal items, just like with Dragor.)
Once again Aeric and Orlof connected with the Myconid in their way (I can only wonder whether this has led to their odd behavior upon awakening) while Jhornim and I waited impotently. After another long walk through seemingly unending fungus forests we reached their leader and it became clear that something was terribly wrong. And once again we would need to correct this in order to find our missing comrades and continue on our journey. We followed our guide until we needed to stop for sleep again, although I feel as if these creatures could continue on forever without rest.

60 Sognathos

I had terrible dreams last night. Sickly, morbid images of rot and decay filled my mind and I awoke to a sensation of foreboding and a craving for something that I could not quite put my finger on. Jhornim and Aeric woke up rocking and tapping again, and seemed disturbed by what they had seen in their dreams too. Orlof performed a very odd pantomime with the weapon that the group seemed equal parts afraid and protective of. He seemed satisfied by his performance but Aeric was not impressed at all. At some point I need to find out exactly what is going on with that but now is not really the time for questions. On our way to our destination we encountered a carnivorous plant of some type which took great delight in biting me repeatedly. After killing it we pressed on and reached a large Zirkwood tree that seemed affected by some kind of illness or disease, and ultimately dispatched this foe too. Our Myconid guide seemed very distressed by his inability to communicate with what I can only assume was usually a faithful servant, but it was becoming clear that whatever illness was spreading through the Myconid was affecting their servants too.
After scaling a great cliff Jhornim and Aeric were faced with a grotesque scene. A great field of half buried rotting creatures stretched out in front of them and they were faced with the horrific task of finding of finding the missing dwarves. I only had a glance at the scene as I finally reached the top and I will never forget the sight (or the sound.) As I came over the edge I could see Jhornim digging into the ground as Aeric fought off a large number of half dead foes. Finally I realised that they had discovered our long lost companion Dragor as Jhornim dragged his unconscious body towards the cliff edge.
Tonight I pray for a decent sleep, free from strange visions and cravings. I dread to think what my travel companions are experiencing while buried in that garden of horrors but I fear they will suffer lingering effects. And what were we to do about this horrific scourge that is destroying the Myconid world?

56 Sognathos, Pass of 3820: Into the Abyss
An so the veil lifted, if for a time...: "where have i seen that dwarf. Id swear its important"

Dragor lost. Azgan injured and unconscious. The band broken and searching for their king in the mushroom forests. In these moments, the broken dwarf Orlof attempted to piece himself together. It had been too long since he had had clarity. Too long since he had seen the world for what it was, instead of what he wished it to be. He had strayed from his task an let the depredations of the derro distract him.

He had spent days surrounded by his family, by his many brothers and sisters. They were quiet and said little, but always there. In the darkest moments, his father would appear an stand at his shoulder. When he was lost, he would see Dandric standing before him. A guide in the dark, keeping Orlof on his path and with his fellows. An when it was quiet an the others slept, it was his mother he would see. She would speak to him. Remind him not just of his duty but of the life he had led. Yet, as comforting as it was, they had gotten in the way. Orlof was slower to react, heard less of the world around him an generally couldn’t keep a straight thought in his head. An worse yet, he knew it. He knew his family lay dead an buried. He knew that Dandric was gone and only his boots an his shield had been returned. It wasn’t even hard to keep that straight in his head. Yet the souls around him were so clearly his family. Quiet but dutiful. Focused on their task.

Eventually Azgan awoke. Orlof had been keeping watch near him for two whole days. Frustrated. With his mind so frayed, he was unable to summon the magic that would speed the healing process up. Inevitably it was this lack most of all that drove him to seek to remove the souls he saw. He could not truly set about his task if he couldn’t channel the might of Clangeddin. So Azgan’s waking was a happy moment for the lost dwarf. Finally he would again hear the song of his god. The deep baritone of his divine might as Orlof brought it to bear on his foes.

The process was swift. As Azgan lay his hands on Orlof it became clear to him how lost the dwarf was. An yet, it was more than that. He would never be truly certain, but he swore that it was not simply visions that Orlof saw. Not that the souls he spoke of were restless, but possibly held in place, between realms. Focused on their last task. Where Orlof only saw his family, Azgan saw more. Many dwarves surrounded them as Azgan poured his magic into Orlof. Through the mushrooms he could see them. In the clearing around him. Everywhere he looked, dwarves of misty pearlescence stood, watching. Staring with intent as Orlof’s mind was put together. There was one standing directly in front of them that struck Azgan as familiar. Azgan was not sure where he had seen the dwarf, but he felt an odd connection to him, as if the recognition was important. An then it was done. Mind an soul put right. The dwarves faded from sight slowly for Azgan, but Orlof sprang up. Bright eyed an intent on finding Dragor.

The dwarves were off again.

54 Sognathos, Pass of 3820 - Into the Abyss
Ranina's Diary

Dear Reader

It has been some time. Forgive me. Much has happened as of late. This entry will most likely be short. We heard them coming after us but we couldn’t see a thing. Next thing I know Brodria is shooting into the dark and I’m fending another off. They had magic users, see, and had used the cursed dark magicks to render things more difficult. After times of this, we had to come up with a new plan. Everyone else would go ahead to find somewhere safe while Orlaf and I would stay behind, taunt and make it seem like we were still there. Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned. We had to leave soon after and follow the path. We discovered some yellow mould patch… it was very strange but thankfully the others had dealt with it and Orlaf and I passed mostly unhindered. Once we caught up, however, before us was a labyrinth. Thankfully, there were hidey holes we could disappear into. We covered our scents with a shedded insect skin, which seemed to have worked. Two of the bastards died trying to follow us. That night we slept well.

Upon waking we were set upon by what can only be called cockroaches. But giant and disgusting ones. We managed to scare them off with the light and fire. Of course, Reader, we left as soon as dwarvenly possible. After many hours we came to a cliff. Interconnected across this giant cave were webs of various sizes and angles. After a debate, we decide to cross the webs. It’s our only hope to get down quickly. Unfortunately that’s where our luck ended. A dryder had been stalking us and we had been set into battle on these precarious webs.

It was a devious sort. The miscreant burned the webs from under our feet after a short fight. It didn’t seem to be going well for—-

There are ink stains and an unfinished sentence, hinting that there had been a distraction and this entry had been left unfinished.

53 Sognathos, Pass of 3820: Into the Abyss
A Wayward Companion: My father always stood with a far off look, as if he stared down the world itself.

Tales say the dwarves fled deep into the Underdark from their Derro pursuers. They ran and ran, and sometimes hid, but ever onward they moved. An every so often when they chose to slow or stop, they would hear it. The howls of Death dogs. The slapping paws on the cold stone. The slathering of jaws and the persistent sound of a tongue dragged across tooth. Coming ever closer. The dwarves ran on, into the dark. Through caves long abandoned, knowing that Derro were hanging just behind.

At one point, they were able to lay a trap for the pursuing hounds. Caught off guard and surrounded, the animals were finally unable to simply flee, and were forced to fight for their lives. In this moment the dwarves slew them, and gained themselves a moments reprieve. A moment to sit, talk and be still. In this, the companions noticed for the first time that one of their number was not entirely as they had once known him. Changed in more ways than just the skin on his back. He seemed distracted but happier. Lighter. As if he was in the company of people that made him feel safe. Even in this darkness, deeper than any other. An more disturbing too was his tendency to talk past his companions. As if the words he was saying were meant for ears other than theirs. All cogent words, that in context made sense. An yet, spoken around or beyond the dwarves in his company.

Confronted on this, the dwarf would admit he saw his family with them. He knew they were not there, that they were but figments of a mind pushed too far. Yet he could not shake them, an it was not easy for him to remember they were not present. Not without something more important to focus on. Asked what that was, the changed dwarf would go quiet, and then talk of his family. He would talk of his brother, an of his quest to uphold the family oath. He never truly elaborated on what the oath was. Just that it had gotten his brother killed and that all he had left of him was the shield he now bore.

The dwarf would talk at length of his family in these few quiet moments. At least, he would when asked about his hold on reality. Always he would be sure to acknowledge they were dead. An yet sometimes it would seem he was describing a person he was looking at. It was uncanny at best, and uncomfortable the rest of the time. The others were not pleased with this new turn in their wayward companion, but as yet they had not had the resources to help him recover.

53 Sognathos, Pass of 3820: The Ship of Night


Dragor heard it first, tortured screams curdled our blood. We all instantly recognised Orlof’s agonising alarm.

Only a few minutes had passed since we agreed to Whisker’s terms and set out on our quest. Already we had found our first objective. Not wasting any time we dashed off across the great chasm, risking detection, but luck was on our side. Dragor’s deception proved vital once again.

Following the sounds of Orlof’s scream we made our way down a natural cave into a giant unworked cavern. It was empty of Derro, but it was not empty. We attempted to continue the charade and casually pass through but were surprised when, swooping down from the cavern walls, gargoyles quickly flanked the party. They were clearly expecting a password or payment of some kind, and when we failed to deliver, quickly attacked.

A grinding combat ensued and no quick victor looked likely. It seems the knock to my head has affected me more than I had realised as I failed to put together the fact that these creature’s were made of earth and that I may be able to influence them somehow. When I finally made the attempt, however, It proved almost useless and we decided to run away from the flapping statues. Just as my faith in Dumathoin’s power wavered, he showed me how fickle I was and shocked a pair of the beasts with his might as my brother cut one down with his axe and allowed our escape.

Sickening smells of burning flesh filled our nostrils as we entered the next tunnel and a faint red glow could be seen emanating from the following chamber. Brodria‘s scouting revealed that we had found Orlof’s dungeon. She could barely contain her hatred of what she saw, and her crossbow dealt out swift justice for their vile sins. Bolt after bolt rent the pair of torturers asunder. Despite the Derro mage successfully trapping Dragor and Aeric in his water trap, he was quickly overpowered by a wicked shot to the eye and almost before it started, the combat was ended.

Oh poor Orlaf. I can barely believe he lives, looking at him, I’m unsure how he was able to survive the damage I observed to his body. Grotesque burns, necrotic scars and tortured nearly to insanity. I helped him as best I could and we bundled him through an underwater passage to relative safety.

Once we re-entered the main chasm we were almost immediately spotted. We were dangling from a cliff-face and had little choice but to flee at full tilt. We made for the mines with death-dogs and derro in hot pursuit, where we found two mine carts just asking to be hijacked and ridden. We jumped in and pushed off and down we flew gaining more and more speed.

A couple of times the derro managed to catch our train but we were able to fight them off and keep rolling. Faster and faster we rattled along, until we went around a corner at breakneck speed and very nearly broke our necks. Aehric copped the worst of the crash and was knocked unconscious.

After picking ourselves up we continued the train ride to hell before crescendoing over a gap in spectacular fashion. At the end of the tracks we had found what Jornum had been looking for, though not what he had expected.

The ship-of-the-night, The Moon, stretched out across a giant circular cavern. An intricate and ingenious series of mirrors was arranged in such a way that the light from the moon seemed to come from the ground around us. In the middle of it all, confidently picking mushrooms, Naherezar, Whisker’s rival and our target.

Those of us that could snuck around and set up flanking positions while those that couldn’t waited on the near side of the chamber. Once we were in position, we sprung the trap. The hammer hit the anvil with spectacular force. Despite his tricks and manipulations, Neherezar was quickly surrounded and defeated. The rod secured, Whiskers’ voice spoke from the air.

Again, he found us weakened and unable to face him. We had little choice but to relinquish the rod and attempt escape. Oh I almost forgot; Haterazor. Orlof grabbed it off the slain sorcerer before anyone could do something sensible. What could possibly go wrong? Tortured to near insanity, wielding an axe that encourages insanity and slays dwarves with impunity.

Of course the first thing he wanted to do was draw it and put the entire royal lineage at risk. Luckily he came to his senses at the last second and we made good our escape.

We could not have condemned Orlof to a life of torture after his noble sacrifice, but if he continues to risk the lives of my family, our time together may be limited.

53 Sognathos, Pass of 3820: The Ship of Night

Another day, another concussion.

This time I woke up deep in derro territory. It seems the river got us to where we needed to go and we think we have about a two day lead on the derro we left behind. I was more than a little alarmed to discover that Ranina had been lost! Curse this Jornum! Dragging us here. If we don’t get her back, I don’t know what I’ll do.

This place is some large derro city. We found a storage larder full of salted fish which we used to replenish our supply and, along with ash from the forge, use it to colour our beards in an attempt to blend in with the locals. I was perhaps a little enthusiastic with my application and looked a poor imitation. Only Dragor managed a passable disguise.

Moving out into the vast cavern we were shocked to see moonlight and stars above. How can we be simultaneously in the Underdark and outside? this must be one hell of a crevice.

We passed some kind of living quarters and a market as we moved around the closest wall. Dragor used his disguise to enter the market and discover that the derro were selling gear recovered from surface dwarves! Ranina! Orlof! They could live yet. One peddler held a buckle with the crest of Dallorak upon it. Surely not a mere coincidence!

While the rest of us waited for Dragor to return, I noticed a couple of derro women looking askance at Jornum & I. Something had to be done before they got closer and realised we weren’t native. “Play along,” I said, and took a swing at Jornum. Well! He near enough broke my bloody nose! Not 5 minutes after I finished bandaging him up! See if I say yes next time! No bloody respect, no bloody manners!

I stormed off, after hearing Dragor’s news and a good thing I did. Noticing half a dozen soldiers heading to where we thought Ranina was captured. I knew i was outmatched so I waited for the others to catch up before running after them.

Jornum, provided a timely reminder of why we put up with him by instantly slaying one derro and chasing down and slaying the other after Brodria wounded him. Neither could raise the alarm.

We ambushed the soldiers just in time to save Ranina from bleeding out in a net. At least she’s alive! By some miracle she was caught before going over the falls and not after.

We were just beginning to get the upper hand when 3 derro exploded in flames! A wizard derro named Whiskers burst in and slayed every derro he could see.

Weary and wounded we chose to parley rather than try our luck against this powerful foe. He revealed his asparations of ruling the derro city and tasked us with killing the current ruler and stealing an artifact he held.

He also made mention of a prisoner exchange in return for the rod. A prisoner that had been held for about a week, that looked like us, that had a buckle from Dallorak. Orlof lives. I only hope he has held his sanity through welding the axe and days of torture.

We agreed to his terms and set out looking for the derro king, our lost friend, the rod and the ship of the night.

52 Sognathos, Pass of 3820: The Ship of Night
Excerpt from The Tales of the Stonehearted

…As Dragor dragged himself on to the raft, minus a boot, the seriousness of their predicament descended upon the group. The water was flowing fast and as they raced down the waterway they could see only roughly carved walls either side of them, and had no idea how deep the water was. Jhornim took control of the rudder and everyone else positioned themselves on the raft, mostly for balance but also to try to see what was up ahead. In the inky blackness even their dwarven dark vision was not much use and they strained to make out what was in the distance. After a while they began to relax and take stock of their situation (and injuries from their recent encounter with the Derros) all the while racing down the dark waterway. They agreed to take the opportunity to rest and divided themselves up into a series of watches, quietly hoping they had time to recuperate before their next encounter.

Time passed quite uneventfully until suddenly Aeric heard something up in the distance. Realising what it was he attempted to wake those still sleeping and get everyone to the centre of the raft. By this time Brodria was at the rudder and as she peered into the darkness she could see the field of stalagmites and stalactites ahead, and called out to Jhornim and Dragor to push the raft in the right direction. Passing the first field of obstacles successfully they had little time to celebrate as more rock appeared in their path, but once again they narrowly avoided disaster and lurched forwards. Beginning to wonder if this was ever going to end they sailed around a sharp corner and into what seemed to be an impassable wall of rock but if the water was getting through then had to be able to somehow. Navigating that successfully they then left the rush of the rapids behind them and settled into what now seemed to be a calmer pace.

It was with some unease that Aeric become aware of what seemed to be a quiet ‘swishing’ sound behind their raft. Staring back into the dark he could not see what it was, and Ranina was similarly unable to determine what was back there, but nonetheless they knew something was following them in the water. Weapons at the ready they all watched closely, waiting for the inevitable attack from their unknown foe until suddenly the raft lurched as it was hit from underneath. Those standing in the middle of the raft managed to stabilise themselves but Dragor was thrown into the water, still clutching the pole he was using to steer the boat with. Rushing to help her fallen comrade Brodria raced to the side of the raft and reached out her hand, not taking any time to brace herself, and was promptly pulled into the water too. Expecting at any moment to be bitten by what they all now had realised was a giant eel Brodria hauled herself back on to the raft and readied her crossbow. Ranina took a chance and fired into the water, injuring the eel. Aeric knelt down and dragged Dragor back on the raft and they continued to travel down the waterway, bracing themselves for attack after attack by the eel. Eventually their luck failed and Jhornim fell into the water and, before he could recover, the eel clamped on to his midsection. Working frantically to pull him on to the raft as the rows of razor sharp teeth pierced his flesh, the group attempted to grab the pole he was still clinging on to and pull him about, straining against the added weight of the water creature. Dragor knelt by the side of the raft and stabilised himself before pulling Jhornim in. Brodria hit the eel with a crossbow bolt and Aeric hit it with a hammer but that did not inspire it to break off the pursuit.

After a while they became accustomed to the occasional knock from the eel, assuming at some point that it would get tired/bored, but it seemed very persistent. Once again they heard the all too familiar roar of rapids and realised that they were not only facing attacks from below, but would soon be facing danger above water too. As they raced towards the rocks Brodria steered the raft towards the narrowest of gaps but thanks to the constant harassment from the eel she miscalculated and the craft slammed into the stalagmites rearing out of the water. The blow threw both Ranina and Azgan into the water, and while she disappeared from sight he was hauled back on to the raft unconscious by Aeric. The rest of the group clung desperately to the tattered remains of the raft, now with a damaged rudder and no poles to steer with, spinning down the tunnel. Having shaken off the eel (who was hopefully not snacking on their missing comrade) the faint sound of metal on metal rang out of the darkness. They were all too familiar to Aeric as he realised a forge was somewhere up ahead, and the party readied themselves for what was inevitably to be another fight.

A long wharf loomed up ahead so Aeric launched rope at pylons and braced for impact, as everyone else briefly scanned for signs of life before lying down and gripping the raft as best they could. Jhornim carried/rolled the still unconscious Asgan off the raft, while Aeric and Dragor leapt off the raft and attacked the Derro working around the forge. Brodria remained on the raft, both to stay at a safe distance and also to watch for Ranina floating by. As they were unarmoured the Derro were picked off relatively easily, put at an unexpected disadvantage as their usually effective ‘complete darkness’ spell was ruined by the light of the forge. As one managed to dive into the water apparently unharmed, the team regrouped and began to plan their next step…


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