Determined to find someone that might know about the black shiny rock that seem so important to the cultists and their use of the undead, the party decides to try the blacksmith.
The dwarven blacksmith, taken back by the number of humans in the party, manages to get out a salutation. Being nice to all, he takes a look at the rock, rocks it back and forth, even taps on it with his hammer.
“Never seen anything like it before – it feels nice in your hands though. If I were you, I would ask Kharbaram – he runs the Kharbaram & Sons mining company. They have been mining here several centuries – if it comes from here, I’d wage an ale or two that they know about it.”
Morgane leaves a gold piece for his time, and everyone heads down the street as per the directions by the smith.
Kharbaram & Sons has a small sign out front – two hammers crossed like an x. It is very dwarf looking. The building is made out of the same rock as the walls – very smooth and pale. This is the nicest building on the street. Everything is of highest quality – not gaudy – just high quality.
Morgane just barely misses thumping her head on the door frame as she enters the building. Initial conversation with the secretary did not lead to progress. As luck would have it, Kharbaram himself, hearing talk of gold, came from the rear of the office.
Upon seeing the hunk of rock, Kharbaram’s face goes pale – a rare feat for a dwarf.
“I don’t want to talk about it. If I were ye’ I would toss that rock off the side of the mountain and be done wit it.” – Kharbaram grimly grumbles.
Wanting answers about this rock, Anastasia asks if they may do something for Kharbaram to earn his trust. Stroking his beard for a few moments, Kharbaram says that he is missing a scouting party. Agreeing finding the party, Kharbaram fills them in what he knows about the missing scouting party.
“You see, up here, you lease plots of land to mine. Most of the good veins have been tapped out, but there is still good money to be made in the mining business. The real money though… the real money is in artifacts. There must have been a dwarven city long forgotten under these mountains. I have been here 200 years – I have never even heard about a dwarven city in this area. Regardless – sometimes if the Ancient ones cast favor upon you – you find an old dwarven tunnel. I have found old dwarven ruins. I have pulled treasure out – gems, gold, sometimes weapons. Maybe I shouldn’t be plundering from my ancestors. But I sleep well enough at night. ” – Kharbaram mutters. You can see bits of breakfast, embedded in his fiery red beard.
“My cousin, Locke, leads my surveying team. We are looking into a plot of land to lease. There is no good way to get to this land without cutting through Binar’s land. We came into some knowledge about an entrance marked by dwarven-like runes. I sent Locke to investigate. I expected him back days ago. The bidding ends Monday morning – sunrise. I don’t really miss Locke to be honest, but I don’t want to waste my money on bidding on a mountain of regular rock. I tell you what – if you find Locke and investigate the entrance, letting me know if I should bid, I might be trust ye’ a bit more. Maybe a few good ales I might tell ye’ about that rock ye’ holden. “
Agreeing to his terms, the party is handed a surveying sketch, including parcel boundaries. Drawing his finger along a dotted line, he emphatically states that this is Benar Brothers’ land. Trespassing is heavily punished. Spying is a capital crime. If caught, Kharbaram will not come to your aid stating that you would be better off on your own.
Informing Gwan and Sebastian to meet them on the eastern gate, they head out – following the map. Along the trail crudely marked into the sketch, they encounter a party of dwarves fighting an monster they had only heard of before. The spider was nearly translucent – as if crafted with ice. The height with all legs on the ground is nearly 10 feet tall. Thin icy legs are accented with razor sharp barbs along the tips. Two dwarves are entombed in icy webs, frozen solid.
Wading into combat cautious, the party watches the two sides fight to the death. Both parties take heavy amounts of damage – legs broken off, dwarves bitten and slowly freezing solid.
Coming to the aid of the dwarves, the ice spider is put down with significant amounts of magic deployed. Anastasia deployed her recently found Wand of Magic Missiles with great skill – blowing off legs with each use of the wand.
The sole survivor of the dwarven party explains that their employer, the Benar Brothers had heard rumors of trespassing. They had been sent here to investigate. Not used to combat, combined with the loss of his team, the dwarf excuses himself from the scene and rides home.
Wanting to make use of the daylight, the party pushes forward. Around a bend of they encounter a mother wolf and her two pups feeding upon a corpse. Galan scales the rocky cliff above the feeding beasts. Visualizing a very successful attack in his mind, he drops from above, pinning the mother wolf to the ground – driving his sword through the back and spiking it to the ground. The baby pups, hearing their mother’s back break, flee. The party is able to pick off one of the pups.
The corpse is indeed dwarf – the size confirms it. The body is badly damaged, and no distinguishing features remain. Amid the carnage are a few broken crates. Sifting through the debris you find the stamped Kharotum & Brother’s crossed hammers on a crate panel.
Pushing deeper into the mountain, behind some very precarious paths, the mountain yields an entrance. The opening is framed in fitted stone with dwarven looking runes carved into all around. The door is constructed out of tightly fitted stone banded with thick black iron. The door is open.
Inside is a large room with a black and white checkerboard floor. The stonework is very high quality. Across the floor is a dwarf pinned to the floor by some rock. Large pillars line the room. Moving farther in, you see another dwarf slumped over dead, his head crushed in by falling rock.
Morgane notices a falling rock detach from the ceiling and fall right towards Anastasia’s head. “Heads up! MOVE Anastasia! – she belts out.
Unfortunately the warning came too late, as a large rock detaches and lands squarely on her shoulder, causing considerable pain. Looking up, the ceiling is covered with these rock creatures – a few of them have “eyes” that open up, and detach, hoping to digest a meal.
Avoiding them, at the end of the room is a slumped over dwarf, lying in a dark red pool. Working their way over carefully, avoiding ceiling monsters, they get to the dwarf. He lies slumped against thick iron doors. His chest has a large deep cut, through the rib cage. A backpack near the dwarf holds a journal with the name Locke written on the spine. There are also business receipts for Kharbaram and Sons.
Assuming this is Locke, they load the body into a cart, and head back to the fort. Along the way, they encounter some ice covered devil looking creatures. Rumor has it that ice devils guard treasure so the party decided to take their chances.
The ice devils put up a great challenge but overcome. Searching the area, Anastasia finds a hole in the rock angled down. Being brave, she reaches into the hole, prepared for the worst. Instead she is rewarded it is a short blackened spear.
Guided by the clear moonlight, the party make it back to the fort without further encounters. Being still wound up, the party go towards the nearest bar.
The party stashes the body in the back in the cellar, and go to sleep, prepared to deal with Kharbaram in the morning.