After listening to the drunken ramblings of the town bar-fly, Thilivern "Thili" Lhyg the handsome Elven bard, Chance LeChance the spell-casting Tiefling , Grunkk the half-Orc barbarian, and Linma the climb-exhausted Kor, set out to find their fortunes in the Dwarven ruins of the North. First, however, they needed to prepare for the journey. Speaking to Scruffy, the town's shop-keep and resident sack distributor, the group procured some rather lovely pelts to keep the cold at bay, and picked up some useful information. Scruffy recalled hunting in that region some time back, and remembered tracking a bear into a mysterious cave, the very back of which was taken up by an enormous door, carved into the shape of a dwarven man's head. He drew up a map of the area for the party, and sent them on their way.
After an uneventful two days of travel, our adventurers came upon an enormous brute of a bear, coated in the scars and aging shafts of arrows left from old and unsuccessful hunts. Tracking the creature to it's lair, the crew, led by the two spell-caster's lights, entered the dark and foreboding cave they sought. Winding through the stone chamber, they came upon the beast, resting it's old bones. Grunkk, unafraid of such an opponent, immediately attacked, driving his javelin into the creature's hide. (Jack's character), seeing the danger his companion was in, hurled a net over the creature. But the monster was strong, and, bursting free from the net, it turned it's attention on the barbarian. Chance sent a ball of firing screaming through the air, scalding the bear's side and wounding it badly. Almost as soon as the magic was cast, Thili's bow came up next to the mage's hand and loosed a bolt into the newly burned flesh, causing a roar of pain that shook the air. Seeing an opportunity, the wily Linma dove forward and thrust his dagger into the beast's side, but only succeeded in angering it further. The creature slashed out at the Kor, striking him in the side and sending him sprawling, but giving the barbarian a chance to attack. Grunkk sank his javelin into the bear's chest. Blood spurted from the animal's jaws as it fell forward in shock and pain, and the spear smashed up through it's throat and out the top of it's skull, leaving no question as to its condition.
The beast felled, our party continued on into the cave, eventually coming upon the door they were in search of. The enormous gate was indeed adorned with the visage of a Dwarven man, along with Dwarven script which none of our adventurers could read. Pushing through the door, the four found themselves in a small chamber containing three beds and a matching set of skeletons. Searching the room, they found a beautifully crafted tankard, a book that none could translate, a small purse of copper, a key, and an amulet containing a tantalizing painting of a nude Dwarf woman reclining on a bed. Lovely.
Upon further inspection,a door in the far corner of the room was see, barricaded by assorted barrels and crates. Thili and Chance shoved these aside, Chance taking the opportunity to open the door in the most theatrical way he could possibly imagine. Blatantly afraid of death, Thili lit a stone and through it into the darkness beyond the door, revealing a staircase, which Chance immediately continued down after the coast was clear. With a slight rumble, the stairs beneath the Tiefling slid down into a ramp, dropping the charlatan out of sight. Skipping that particular step, the rest of the party rushed down to see a dazed, but unharmed, Chance brushing himself off at the foot of the staircase.
Continuing on their way, Chance at the head of the line, the party entered a room where a powerful statue was visible from the hallway. However, as soon as the leader entered the room, two blades, as large as the doorway, swung down to greet him. Chance narrowly escaped, but one of the weapons sliced into his arm with a sickening rip, sending him sprawling at the statue's feet. The other three let out a collective outburst of surprise, and froze inside the doorway, fearing the now retracting blades. Seeing the outlines of the pressure plate in the floor, they sidled around the trap and joined their friend in the chamber. The statue depicted a Dwarven woman, large and imposing, holding an axe out to the doorway they had just left. In another corner of the room, the statue of a different woman, covered in religious runes and obviously some figure of faith, kneeled. Linma, with sudden realization, commanded the others to help turn the statue. All except Thili began to push the statue, which budged the the right ever so slightly before sticking. Thili, noticing a rather conspicuous lever in the floor, lazily kicked it, causing the woman to spin away from the others, sending them toppling. The Kor, clever as ever, began pulling the lever, over and over, until finally it was facing the kneeling statue, which slid up the wall to reveal another staircase leading downward.
No one moved. Everyone began investigating the stairs, poking, prodding, throwing stones. When it was clear nothing was going to happen, Grunkk led the now jumpy party down the stairs and into another room. A sudden change in the air let the adventurers quickly know that danger was ahead, and as they were greeted by a floor of desiccated corpses and the smell of rot, they were certain. Two creatures, hulking knuckle-draggers covered in thick hide and slime, looked up from a squabble at the far side of the room to stare at the intruders. Grunkk, our hero, ran forward and swung his sward at the first creature, but to no avail, as the creature raised its clawed fist and stopped the weapon. Chance ran forward and, his eyes alight, stretched his arms wide and sent a stream of electricity into the creature, which did not end. The second creature ran to Grunkk, about to strike, when Thili fired a crossbow bolt deep into the soft flesh between its ribs. Now focused on the Elf, the creature advanced, only to catch the tip of a whip in the face, slicing from temple to jaw bone, courtesy of Linma.
Grunkk, having recovered himself from his first failed attack, now swung his axe with a vengeance, immediately severing the twitching, sizzling creature's head from it's body with a single blow. Having lost his target, Chance dropped his hands and reached in the other direction, at the second beast, and let out another powerful stream of lightening, turning the already wounded monster into a sizzling black corpse. It was at this point that Linma, deciding that he had seen enough for one day, left our group and returned to the village. Upon searching the room, out adventurers found some religious tokens, an amulet, and some coins, but nothing else.
The remaining travelers moved to the next room and were greeted by a huge stone sword, built to look as though it stuck into the earth in the center of the room. It was covered in carvings in many different languages, Orcish, Dwarven, Elven, Common, all of which simply gave thanks. The trio decided that this place had, at one point in its history, been part of a pilgrimage of the faithful. In honor of it's history, Chance added an Infernal thanks, and Thili added the same in Sylvan. They continued, slightly sobered.
Continuing on their way, the travelers entered an incredible room. The sound of water echoed up from beneath a thin land bridge that led from the room's entrance to a stone gazebo in the center of the cavern. Chance refused to go first, and Thili, being the manipulative and self-preserving thing that he is, took the time to encourage Grunkk to go first. The half-Orc, a truly kind hearted man, agreed, and preceded forward. As soon as he reached the center of the bridge it began to crack and crumble. Thili swore loudly. Chance leapt forward with a shout, scrambling to grab the barbarian's hands, but could not, and the treasured companion fell into the darkness below. Thili let out another expletive, and the two ran to the edge as they heard a splash. Grunkk was alright for the most part, and was quickly hoisted back up thanks to a handy rope the tiefling had brought.
Now met with the obstacle of a 5ft hole in the path over a 50ft drop into a dark river, the trio decided to run and jump, with the rope tied around the jumper as a precaution, of course. This was first attempted by Thilivern, who immediately fell into the darkness, followed by a stream of swear words. Yanked back by Grunkk with enough force to choke a troll, Thili fell, gasping and coughing, onto the bridge, and gratefully allowed Chance to try next. He succeeded, and, thinking better of jumping, decided to make a tightrope. He and Grunkk tied the rope ends around their middles and leaned back, creating a taught line on which the Elf could cross, which he did easily, holding Chance's cane as a balance.
Looking into the gazebo, the two on the side could see a stone coffin, the lid in place, and the Tiefling blasted it with enough force to allow Thili to look inside. Inside was a skeleton of some Dwarven lord or king, and something shiny that could not be clearly made out. Not wanting to abandon the rope incase of an emergency, the bard was sent to investigate the gazebo. He did so, begrudgingly. He crept warily into the structure, holding the cane as though it would rescue him, and peered into the sarcophagus. The bones held an ornate pickaxe covered in Dwarven runes and decoration, and the king had been buried wearing his armor and a beautiful amulet. The Elf shoved the lid of the coffin completely off, causing it to slam to the floor loudly and forcefully. The ground shifted. Thili stood and stared, looked back at the expectant company, looked back at the probably booby-trapped royal, and proceeded to jab at it unceremoniously with the cane. Nothing happened. He wrenched the pickaxe out of the Dwarf's hands, then picked up the armor and shook the bones out of it before pocketing both that and the amulet. With a quick and hushed apology, he headed back to the bridge.
He leapt onto the rope and crossed easily, and that's when the stone began to crumble. Chance, who was still on the side of the king, felt the ground tilt and heave beneath him, and jumped for it. He sailed through the air as the island of rock cracked and fell beneath him, landing heavily on the other side. The three ran for it, the gazebo's platform and the bridge falling into the water below with a deafening, booming, crash. Looking back on their narrow escape, the party decided that it was indeed time to go back to town and sell their spoils.
Days later, they found themselves back in their hometown and went back the tavern for a good drink and a better story with their dear Kor companion.
From the writings of Thilivern Lhyg…