The Stein and Sword
We found it! The hidden pathway to the lands beyond the mountains. There were some complications of course. One of them was Konraad dying. Those Bloodbanes are an awful fragile line considering their dwarven blood. It’s alright though as he ended up coming back from it.
We explored the caverns a bit and cleared out some of the local wildlife with little trouble. As we were about to head up a set of stairs we found carved into the rock we heard a loud bit of splashing and coughing from the way we came. Turns out one of the local thieves, Davian, had followed us looking to skim whatever treasures we found. Some of our merry band looked at him askance, but never underestimate how handy someone with light hands might be. He was here now anyway so he might as well come along. We’ll just shake him down every now and again.
We headed back to the stairs and went up. We went a long, long way up. At the top we ran into a large door blocking our path. Along one wall there were two alcoves holding unlit candles and on the other side was a large alcove that had a mirror chained into the floor. The candles wouldn’t light and when we took them out of the small alcoves they would re-appear again shortly there- after. The mirror didn’t seem to be anything special. But the placement and being chained to the floor seemed rather odd. Lead Tiger was most helpful in testing the door for us. But it wouldn’t open and actually did damage in return. After much bumbling about we figured it out. Moving the mirror around we could see the flames on the candles, rotating though a series of colors. Davain and I watched the mirror, waiting for the colors to align, and then shouted to Lead Tiger to open the door.
Once though the door we could hear a commotion in the room ahead of us. We sent the thief to check it out. Remember when I said it would be handy to have someone with light hands? We he’s definitely not light on his feet. He’d gone no more than a few steps when he tripped and when down hard. It took him a few minutes to recover and then gather up his stuff that had dropped. Thank my god that there wasn’t anything in that room that noticed. It was full of ghosts. They were in the middle of reenacting a rather heated argument. Things got a bit weird when the ghostly dwarf took out a shining bag full of sparking dust. He inhaled the dust and then started glowing with super powers. Though we hadn’t been able to touch or interact with the ghosts in any way, once they started flinging around their magical attacks at each other – we were able to feel that. Once they all died there was a small pause before it all started to replay. We decided it would be expedient to move into the room beyond before the magic started coming out.
The room beyond was small but all eyes were drawn to the small pony keg on the floor. It was sparking and glowing. All kinds of fantastical shapes were created by its ‘aura’ that then faded away. Upon opening the keg we discovered the same magic dust that the dwarven ghost had been using. Lead Tiger was again very helpful in testing it for us by putting his hand into the glowing keg. He drew his hand back rather quickly saying he heard screams in his head. Davian modified this approach and put a bag around his hand for protection and was able to draw up some of the dust. While we’d been busy with the dust, the others had discovered 4 large bags full of wine and 4 empty modified leather bags with windows. We weren’t sure what the modified leather bags were used for. We cracked open one of the wine bags so that we could sample the product. It smelled wonderful. Though we’ve specialized in beer, ale, and cider that doesn’t mean we neglected our other alcohols. I have to say it made me greatly depressed knowing that I’d never be able to taste a drop. Davian drew a cup and decided to do some testing of his own by adding some of the magic power. He looked invigorated after one swallow and even had a bit of a glow. My heart lept with hope. I thought perhaps if I added some of the magic powder to a mug and tried a drink it might cure my curse. My hopes were dashed as it turned to water in my mouth. I did however feel a great pool of magical power. Almost as if there were magical roots leading into the earth and I could access it all. I also felt that there was something ‘blocking’ some of that power or ‘not right’. By the end of my cup I had my own glow. Since I felt so powerful I tested a spell on Lead Tiger. Never had I felt a spell be cast so easily. I didn’t have to expend any effort at all. Just as I was feeling quite joyous about this, it came crashing down into a hangover. Not the worst I’d ever had of course, but it was in no way pleasant. We closed the keg and packed it and everything else we’d found to take with us.
We went back the way we came and took a side corridor that was just before the room with the ghosts. This ended in a large dark cavern. We were on a ledge, what we can only assume is somewhere midway up the carvern wall. We’re not sure because we never could discover where the bottom or top of the cavern ended. There was a walkway suspended by cables about 70ft away, but no obvious way to get there. We used a crank on the wall next to us to raise up a fallen part of the walkway to below the other half. That didn’t seem to help us much as we still had a large gap to cross. Luckily that thief does actually seem to be good with his hands as he found a switch under the platform that released the walkway to come swinging across to us before latching in place.
After trekking across the caverns walkway. We came to a small hole in the wall that was letting sunlight though. It turns out we discovered an outlook high above the lake on the other side of the mountain. It was probably very useful to the smugglers at the time, but less so to us. It looks like we had to turn back and we’d have to use the underwater tunnel to get out the other side after all. Konraad would just have to suck it up. I mean I know he drowned to death, but he came back.
Once we got back to the underwater entrance we figured out that we could use the modified leather bags with windows as air bubbles to help those that didn’t have the luck or lung capacity to make it across. I of course needed no such help and made it across with no problem. We were able to get our magic dust out, but when we tried to bring the wine, each and every one busted in the water. It was a sad, sad loss of some very good and very old wine. What a waste. The tunnel on this side comes out into a large lake and there is quite a swim to the shore. Once we were all out, we decided to rest up for a day before exploring our new surroundings.
I believe we have the secret tunnels well plotted and will be able to use them with must less hassle the next time we go through. With the storage area and outlook we could set up quite the trade. It’s too bad that it doesn’t lend itself to our brewery, but I’m sure we’ll think of something. Now we just need to discover what this side of the mountains has to offer.
Your Loving Daughter,
P.S. I can tell you that there are some very large boar specimens on this side of the mountain. We had a group of 6 attack us during the night when I was keeping watch. Yalandra and I softened them up with some fireballs while they were still approaching. Yalandra needs to work on her aim though as she ended up cooking us more than the boars. Luckily Konraad was able to channel a heal for us and then we really got into the fight. I must say that Konraad did very well giving the final blow on a couple of the beasts. His new god must be serving him well. Of course, Lead Tiger had some rather spectacular encounters, shoulder checking on of the charging boars and ripping the spine out of the last one. He’s quite the brute when he wants to be for all that he likes to talk about ‘enlightenment’. Nothing that we couldn’t handle. We’re still here and onto what comes next.