Wherein the heroes continue the search for the kids and return to the Crucible.
After quite a bit of arguing, Broken finally convinces Meander to head back to town and get healed up. Jet, the little girl they found outside the orphanage, has agreed to guide the group to the place where the kobolds have taken the kids. The group goes back to Boar’s End to get healed up. As they get near town, Jet seems surprised, “If we had cut through the forest, it would’ve taken much less time.” Broken responded that he was not going to take any more trips through the woods until he was healed.
The group stops at Laurels. Frog and Laurel have created three potions that the group can buy to help heal them in their travels; 20 silver for a potion to cure poisons, 20 silver for a potion to cure diseases, and only 10 silver for a potion to heal wounds. Red purchases a potion to help cure the poison from the spiders. He quaffs the pot and shortly afterwards, his strength returns.
Everyone gathers back at the Sitting Duck for the evening and rests up for the trip tomorrow. In the morning, the effects of the spider’s venom appear to have worn off. The group gathers early and goes to Laurels first thing in the morning. They buy several potions from her. Meander buys two potions; a cure and heal. Red buys a cure potion. Broken buys a heal potion.
They head back to the inn before leaving town. Jet is planning to take the group straight through the woods to where the kobolds are. We need to go north. We could take the bridge or the ferry, but she has always taken the bridge. Broken wants to take the ferry.
As the group discusses their plans, they overhear news about more wolf attacks. The wolves were bold enough to come into town. Someone was chewed up in town over night.
The group leaves town to start towards the ferry. During the ride, the group continues talking.
Jet continues, “When we go to the ferry, right on the other side of the ferry is a trail up the mountains. In the mountains, in a dark corner you can’t see from the lake are some ruins. The kobolds live deep in the ruins. But be careful, at the top of the ruins is where the wolves live.”
“Isn’t that the Crucible?”
“Yes, the wolves there were led by a giant Worg by the name of GreyPelt.”
Broken, “Didn’t we kill him?”
“You killed GreyPelt?”
Meander, “I donno. It was kindof dark. They were all grey so I’m not sure. What’s a Worg?”
“An intelligent giant wolf. It kept sending all its wolves to hunt me, but I stayed away from them.”
Broken, “So a worg can talk?”
“It can actually, though it doesn’t have anything good to say.”
The group continues to talk as they go up the trail. Broken insists several times that he wants to retrieve his 200 silver that was taken from him.
Returning to the Crucible is eerie. The place is quiet, almost too quiet. The memory of danger here makes everyone more uneasy. The group starts to cautiously make their way into the courtyard.
Meander splits from the group and climbs up the side of the mountain to look into the library. In the center of the library lay the decomposing body of the giant wolf. He picks his way down, slipping and sliding down the rubble. Brushing himself off, he starts to work cutting the head off the wolf with his hefty dagger. Once finished, he realizes that he can get back to the group using the door to the altar room. When Meander goes into the altar room, there is unnerving black mist pouring through the entryway. He lets his power go and the blackness revert back to light, with particles of dust floating through the air. He can see the group kneeling by the body by the well.
The others have been performing an exhaustive search of the courtyard. After searching the body by the well, Red discovers a decaying pack hidden in the overgrown brush. Several things in the pack seem to be salvageable; a weeks worth of trail rations, unusual metal tools in a sleeve, silk rope, a small coin purse, and a strange blue vial with a stopper.
The group prepares to finish searching the top of the ruins before continuing downstairs. StoneMan kicks in the northern door in the courtyard, revealing a hallway. The hallway ends in the east at a ruined statue. It is broken and smashed. After searching and removing some of the rubble from the statue, it appears that it might perhaps be a bear wearing clothes.
Red, “These are not bears.”
Meander, “If they aren’t bears then what are they?”
Red, “They are Dwarves. These are what the Dwarves I’ve been looking for look like.”
Meander, “They look like bears?”
There is a door next to the statue. Meander opens the door and walks into the room to start searching. This was an interior room that has collapsed. The outer wall and roof has shattered and lies in rubbed on the floor.
Broken yells, “Fucking Spiders!!!”
Meander looks up and sees something moving along the cracks in the mountain above the room.
Red starts casting a spell. Earth boils from the ground at his feet, crawling up his feet and legs, moving up his body until he is completely covered. Then he moves into the room.
As he moves over the rocks, the ceiling starts to quiver and move. He determines that he ceiling is completely covered in bats. Thousands of bats! Red says they are cave bats. They are dangerous. A swarm this size could bleed a large animal to death before they could escape. Any exposed surface will be bitten. Any bite will bleed without stopping. Common mundane defense – miners use a blanket. Meander gets his blanket out.
Broken has an idea and tells everyone to back out of the room. He puts a torch in the room and tries to animate the torch. It takes several attempts, but he eventually manages the spell. He tells the torch to attack straight up. Then he closes the door and lets the fire attack the bats.
There are a lot of screeching and buffeting the door. The group can hear some of the flying past the statue. The noise continues for some time. Afterwards it falls silent again.
Red and Meander peek through the door. Dead bats are everywhere. Broken picks up the torch. Some of the stone looks regularly shaped. Maybe some of the stone were stone tables and chairs. There may be something hidden underneath, but it would take many man hours to search this room.
The group moves to the next room down the hallway. Meander checks to see if the door is open. It is not locked. He opens the door slowly and it opens easily. He looks for anything untoward in the room, but it looks clear. The group enters the room. Spiderwebs cover racks that once held arms and armor. A once well tended armory is now devoid of weaponry, the room was long ago picked clean. They search and search amongst the racks. Broken discovers a few crossbow bolts under one of the racks. He pulls out four bolts and puts them into his pack saying, “These aren’t interesting.” When the group protests, he pulls them out. They could see runes inscribed down the length of the shaft.
Red takes one and examines it. “These are Dwarven… and magical.” Broken ponders over one of them, thinking he might be able to animate it. In the end, Red takes two, Meander takes one, and Broken takes one.
The group then proceeds to the next room. This is the small office that they visited last time around. They examine the desk more carefully. Broken finds a hidden compartment underneath one of the drawers. Inside is a small sharp axe that is unusually heavy for its size. It is covered with silvery runes that look magical. An odd leather pouch of alien design holds several thin rectangles of white metal. It sparkles with a luster that must be precious. Also in the drawer is a book of thin metal sheets filled with script. Red explains that this must be a Dwarven prayer book. It contains chants and rituals to be performed. The name of the god translates to Dark Smith. Some notes scratched inside say, “The maker is no longer worthy of our devotion. Only the Dark Smith can deliver us from King GoldBold.” The prayer book identifies the symbol on the small silver hammer as the Dark Smith.
The group don’t find anything more of note in the room after further search. They move through the western arch into the worg lair. Searching through the rubble was fruitless, however in the furry nest in the back they found some valuables stuffed in a bag; a small pile of silver pieces (354), a nice well crafted light crossbow, a small blood colored glass vial, and a thin bone rod with a silver cap covered in glyphs.
Confident that the top of the ruins were searched, the group gathers at the top of the stairs. Broken casts a spell, causing the stairs and rubble to move to help us navigate the broken stairway. Meander moves ahead of the group to try to quietly scout down the stairs. The group follows several paces behind.
The rocks on the stairs seem to get right underneath the groups feet, but this wasn’t a hindrance. Instead, the rocks would support the weight and offer solid footing. The rubble continues for another 20 feet down. The entire group tries to be quiet, but this is hindered by StoneMan’s loud crunching with each step. Fortunately, the group hears louder echoes of crunching coming from below.
At the bottom of the stairs, Meander peers into the large chamber. The stairway opens into a large chamber. In the center of the chamber stands the bottom half of a broken obsidian obelisk. Crude picks, hammers, and other tools lie scattered around the chamber. Two very sad looking Kobolds are picking away at the obsidian and picking up the pieces. A couple tougher, armored ones look on, jeering, laughing, and poking. Meander creeps back to the group and tells them of the Kobolds.
The group discusses options for attack. They decide to give the torch to Jet. They let her know that it would be better to stay with the group, that we could protect her. Meander prepares to charge down the stairs and block the exits. The others get ready to cast spells.
On their mark, Meander crashes down the stairs and charges through the room with his spear set, spotting two extra kobolds on the wings, and misses his target Kobold as he rushes past. Broken, Red, ToughBark, Jet and StoneMan come down to the bottom of the stairs. Light pours into the room, illuminating the Kobolds in the room.
Two of the Kobolds run away for the group to the far wall and start readying a sling. Two kobolds approach Meander, both managing to slash and stab him in the chest. Meander runs across the room, holding out his spear as a lance, and lifts one of the small Kobolds up in the air, carrying him into the hallway beyond before he slides lifeless off the spear onto the ground. Meander spins around to find another Kobold to attack.
Broken dismisses his rock climbing spell and activates his dancing blade spell. Holding out a sword, the sword floats in the air and starts to attack the nearest Kobold. The Kobold nimbly dodges out of the way of its first flurry of blows.
A whish sound from the torch behind the group is barely heard over the sounds of the fighting, but it is impossible to miss the curtain of absolute blackness that envelops the room. Red can feel the martial vibrations from the combatants, but also some slight tapping from the stairway behind him. He tells the group, “Jet’s tiptoeing upstairs. Get her while I deal with the Kobolds in front of me.”
For Meander, the flickering bright beams streaming from the kobolds disappear in the uniform brilliance of the room which is only marred by some shadows emanating from the eastern corridor. He sees the Kobolds jump to take advantage of some of the bewildered group members. One Kobold lashes out with its spear, stabbing Broken in the stomach. Broken screams in pain before passing out and falling to the ground. Another Kobold strikes Red in the shoulder, opening a small wound. Meander charges at another one of the armored Kobolds, but it dodges under his spear as he rushes past.
ToughBark, being completely blinded, starts to back towards the steps. Red stands his ground, being able to feel the positions of each of the Kobolds. He swings low at the nearest Kobold, striking him in the leg with his stout rod. Stone Man rushes over to guard Broken. He stands over Broken in a defensive stance and swings wildly in the dark. One of the kobolds easily avoids the wildly swinging great sword and strikes Stone Man, severing some of the silver tracings across his surface and causing sparks to fly.
Two of the guards move up to Meander at stab at him with their spears. He dodges the first, but the second spear strikes him in the left foot. Meanders begins to move and barely dodges a sling stone that bounces off the wall over his shoulder. He strikes one of the guards in the shoulder with his spear and then darts away out of the Kobold’s reach.
Red sweeps up with his rod, striking a Kobold in the chest, lifting him up into the air to land against the broken obsidian block. The Kobold slumps to the floor, unconscious.
Stone Man swings again at the Kobold in front of him, but it again dodges easily and strikes him again, the spear head only grazing across the stony surface.
The Kobold guard starts chasing after Meander, but Meander stays just out of his reach. The Kobold slinger starts to run towards one of the corridors. Meander charges the slinger, impaling him through the shoulder, killing him instantly. The guard still trails after Meander when Meander and Red turn to attack the guard. The Kobold dodges Meander’s spear thrust, but blunders into Red’s strike, sending another dead Kobold crashing into the pillar.
The Kobold glances another blow off the Stone Man’s armor, but is unfortunate enough to be in the path of the Stone Man’s next swing. He cleaves through half the Kobold’s chest before sliding off the blade and crashing into the far wall.
ToughBark finally gets a torch relit. As the torch starts to catch, he cries out as he barely manages to dodge an attack from the darkness of the stairwell. The group whirls to see a crazy wolf man swiping at ToughBark from the stairwell. Meander rushes over to the wolf man, stabbing with his spear. He flays open the wolf mans hand. However, before his eyes, the wound knits closed leaving no trace of injury.
Broken wakes back up, looks about and starts casting a spell to animate the torch. Red also drops his earth touch spell and starts to cast another spell but botches it near the end. ToughBark attacks the wolf man with the torch, trying to hold it back.
Stone Man turns and swings his great sword across, digging deep into the wolf man’s neck. The blow would’ve killed most any creature they’d seen, but the wolf man backed up a step and rolled its shoulders as the wound closed, leaving a jagged raw line across its neck. Meander stabs again with his spear, cutting open the creatures arm to seemingly no effect.
Broken searches quickly around in his pack, grabbing two daggers. He runs over to ToughBark and hands him a silver dagger saying, “Use this.”
The wolf man eyes the Stone Man warily and lashes out at it, barely missing him. Meander jabs deep into the wolf man’s chest. As the spear is removed, the wound closes leaving a small cut. Broken dodges around the group, getting behind Meander, and pushes the other silver dagger into Meander’s hands saying, “Use this.”
ToughBark stabs at the wolf man’s shoulder with the dagger. What looked to be a slight cut flares open into a large nasty bleeding wound, far beyond what a normal dagger should do. The wolf man falls to the ground and passes out.
Meander runs up the stairs to check for Jet. Red moves back down amongst the Kobolds and kills the remaining incapacitated ones. Stone Man moves over to picks up the wolf man. As Stone Man reaches down to grab the wolf man, it wrestles up and moves out of his grasp, moving up the stairs with great speed after Meander. Meander spins and stabs it in the vitals. The wolf creature falls in a pool of blood. The body writhes and changes, shrinking, turning pale and loosing the hair. It quickly reverts back to the body of a little girl, recognizable to the group as Jet.