Firehammer Hold – Chapter Four

3rd Day of the Claw of Sunsets (March) 1363 DR:

Forlorn Hills – Chapter Four

Foothills by Firehammer Hold: (17:50 pm):

The Adventures travel towards the forest north of Firehammer Hold and reach the forest edge, with one pony less and darkness falling. As the Adventures enter the wood Frimly hear the sound of fighting coming from within. With it being dark and the wood dense forest, it is hard for the Adventures to pin-point the direction and they dismount from their horses and enter the forest. Mirafir had cast ‘Invisibility’ and ‘Fly’ so he volunteered to move onwards and scout the area ahead.

Thora thinks she hear a Dwarven voice cry something out and can only make out:

Thora: “Fire Eyes…?”

Mirafir eventually finds the source of the battle but the Wizard has arrived too late. The battle was over and there were several humanoid creatures standing around a pile of dead bodies.

Mirafir: “I know what these creatures are, Gnoll…”

Mirafir remembers his mother’s lessons; Gnolls are a humanoid race that most closely resembled human-hyena hybrids within Faerûn. They were carnivorous humanoids, known for their savage culture and warlike ways.

Mirafir choses to act immediately and casts one of his new spells, ‘Cloudkill’. This spell generates a billowing cloud of ghastly yellowish green vapours that is so toxic as to slay most creatures. All but 2 of the Gnolls are instantaneously slain and they move to throw their Spears which they all appear to carry. Both miss and they are slain by the onrushing Paladin and Fighter.

Mirafir and Frimly look among the dead bodies and they find a single, emaciated Dwarf, lying dead with the fallen Gnolls. Frimly searches the area while Mirafir checks for tracks to see if they can understand what went on. Mirafir finds that there is a mystery here, as well as the tracks of the barefooted dead Dwarf and Gnolls; the Wizard can see many other tracks of Iron shod boots that are small and must belong to Dwarves from Firehammer Hold .

Mirafir: “this makes no sense as there are Dwarven tracks here but only one dead Dwarf?”

Frimly: “And look what I have found in the hand of said dead Dwarf, it is a stone tablet of some kind and it is covered in blood.”

Delimbiyr Bloke - Face of Gorm - (Dwarvern) - Firehammer Hold
Delimbiyr Bloke – Face of Gorm – (Dwarvern)

Thora: “the poor soul must have used it as a weapon, look that Gnoll has been hit with the Dwarven Brick.”

Frimly: “Look it has Dwarven Runes carved upon it, what do they say Thora?”

Thora: “Let me see lad.”

Thora take the item and tells all what she can tell and read. This rectangular stone depicts a stylized Dwarven face. Written in Dwarfish on the beard is the saying:

Dwarven Runes - Dethek - Firehammer Hold

“Friendship is more than a word. Weigh it carefully”

Thora: “this poor Dwarf has been worked to the bone.”

Mirafir: “Then the Gnolls must have been sent to hunt him down and recover him and the item that you have found.”

The Adventures then vote to have Thora and Sigune take the horses along the road to Firehammer Hold, while Mirafir and Frimly ‘Fly’ ahead.

Mirafir and Frimly, having cast ‘Fly’ and ‘Invisibility’ while Frimly used his Ring of Invisibility’, move ahead of Sigune and Thora and onto Firehammer Hold .

Map - Firehammer Hold
Map – Firehammer Hold

Approaching Firehammer Hold by the Adventures requires travel along the Iron Road. From the Iron Road, a gravel path climbs to 3000’ feet along the wall of a valley. The hold’s entrance opens where the gravel path runs near the top of an escarpment, which overlooks a wooded area and an abandoned logging thorp or hamlet. Around the hold are signs of intense logging activity.

Along the gravel path west of Firehammer Hold is a 10’ foot tall statue of Vergadain (VUR-guh-dain), the Dwarven God of luck and mercantilism. It is erected where the main path crosses a secondary path leading to a loggers’ thorp.

Mirafir and Frimly see from the air a statue that depicts the Deity pointing to his right (up the hill) with a broad smile, holding a coin (his holy symbol) in his left hand. Mirafir and Frimly are unaware that the statue is Vergadain “the Laughing Dwarf” (Dwarves know this fact automatically). Vergadain rewards cleverness and enterprise.

Symbol of Laduguer - Duergar God - Firehammer Hold
Symbol of Laduguer – Duergar God

Nailed to the statue’s chest is an Iron Shield that has a broken Crossbow Bolt painted in red on it. A phrase in Darvish on the pedestal, just below a shallow basin full of algae-filled rainwater, reads,

Dwarven Runes - Dethek - Go West - Firehammer Hold

“Go West! Build Wealth!”

During the day, ravens and buzzards circle the wooded area, so an observer knows something dead is in that area.

The Adventures then see tracks along the gravel path heading to the old loggers’ thorp and that it shows recent traffic, mostly humanoids on foot. Buildings in the thorp are sturdy stone structures that lost their thatched roofs long ago. Nothing of value remains, but a small logging path leads from the thorp in a loop through the nearby woodlands where the buzzards circle.

Mirafir and Frimly ‘Fly’ down and the Wizard checks for tracks and he can see that small parties of booted humanoids have used the trail recently.

Mirafir and Frimly follow the loop trail come near a mass grave and notice the odour of decaying flesh. Mirafir and Frimly search the area for the scent’s source arrive in an oval clearing where a 50’ foot long, 10’ foot wide ditch has been dug to a depth of 5’ feet and covered with rock and soil for half its length. Still visible in the uncovered section are a half-dozen human corpses, some desiccated.

Mirafir and Frimly decide to check the entrances and ‘Fly’ up the escarpment to the furthest entrance to the west, which turns out to be the main entrance.

Main Entrance:

This is a 12-foot-tall, 10-foot-wide set of double stone doors set in a smooth stone wall forms an entrance that faces south and opens almost directly onto the gravel road outside. A massive knocker of stone is affixed to the centre of each door 4’ feet off the ground. Two 9’ foot-tall bas-reliefs of stern Dwarf Warriors with full Helms, braided beards, and Axes have been carved on the rock wall at both sides of the entrance. Above the door to Firehammer Hold is the stylized symbol of a Blazing Maul.

Mirafir and Frimly then ‘Fly’ on west towards the second entrance.

Hostel Entrance:

Mirafir and Frimly float down to the path along side Firehammer Hold and can both see a walled structure that juts out from the natural cliff face. On the south-eastern corner is a 7’ foot-tall carving of a Female Dwarf leaning on a shield emblazoned with 2 Interlocked Rings. The outer door is made of stone, the stylized symbol of a blazing maul carved in relief on it. A wooden plaque next to the door—engraved in Dwarfish, Elvish, and Common—reads:

Dwarven Runes - Dethek - Welcome
Elven Runes - Welcome

Welcome. Rest easy until audience is granted.

Entry Door:

Frimly checks the door for traps and finds that it is not trapped and it opens easily. The inner bolt has been removed, which is obvious to anyone who examines the door.

Living Room:

Beyond the entrance the ‘Invisible’ Mirafir and Frimly find that, the living room of the hostel has wood-panelled walls, a fireplace, a fine table with stools, and a well-worn carpet on the floor.

Northern Bedroom:

Frimly checks the door for traps and finds that it is also not trapped. The room behind the door contains three bunk beds, three stools, six small chests, and an empty wooden bookcase on the north wall.

Mirafir and Frimly have a quick look around the room and Frimly thinks there is a hidden door behind the bookcase and spends time looking. Finding nothing Mirafir also takes a look but also finds nothing. Mirafir and Frimly move onto the southern door.

Southern Bedroom:

To the south is another door which Frimly checks and declares it safe to pass. The room beyond has wood-panelled walls, and it is furnished with two bunk beds and four small chests.

A search of the room by Mirafir and Frimly reveals an inscription crudely carved on the wood of one of the bunk beds. The writing (in Common) reads:

“We’re doomed!”

The inscription was carved recently.

Mirafir and Frimly then ‘Fly’ on west towards the third entrance.

The stone door is immensely heavy, but is designed to turn smoothly on pivot hinges. It is bolted shut, and opening it requires a siege scale attack or ‘Knock spell’ or two if it was to be the Main Entrance.

Mirafir and Frimly decide to wait for Sigune and Thora to arrive via the gravel path, as traversing the mountain and escapement would be virtually impossible.

Firehammer Hold: (19:00 pm):

Sigune and Thora move on past the Main Entrance of Firehammer Hold and meet-up with Mirafir and Frimly in the Hostel. Here once again Frimly asks that all the rooms, including the bookcase, are checked for Secret Doors. Frimly then hears a fait noise from the northern room, which is being searched by Sigune and Thora and Mirafir and Frimly still ‘Invisible’, which confirms to him that there is something behind the bookcase. With this added information the bookcase is searched again adding to all the time already spent looking.

Frimly Detects for Noise and can hear the sound of several Iron-Shod boots disappearing off into the distance.

Firehammer Hold: (20:45 pm):

Secret Door:

The Adventures find that the bookcase has a peephole and is a secret door. The door can be operated from either side, opening into the secret passage.

Mirafir: “Stand back and I will cast a Spell that will allow us all access through.”

Mirafir cast one of his newly acquired Spells ‘Passwall’.

The Wizards ‘Passwall’ spell enables the spellcaster to open a passage through wooden, plaster, or stone walls, but not other materials. The Wizard and any associates can simply walk through. The spell causes a 5’ foot wide x 8’ foot high x 10’ foot deep opening. Several of these spells can form a continuing passage so that very thick walls can be pierced. If dispelled, the ‘Passwall’ closes away from the dispelling caster, ejecting those in the passage.

The Duergar blocked the door with a stone wedge from inside the passage, and a ‘Knock’ or Open Doors would have been required to force it open from the Northern Bedroom.

Each day at dusk and dawn, 4 Duergar warriors come to the peephole to see if anyone or anything is inside the hostel. If they see no one in the northern Bedroom, they reconnoitre the whole hostel, and then leave again through the secret passage.

Mirafir, no longer ‘Invisible’, Frimly and Sigune follow Thora through the Magical Portal and find a Secret Passage heading north, for 10’ feet and then nest. The Adventurers then head westwards for 50’ feet and encounter a dead-end or another Secret Door. The Adventures find the way to open the door and find a corridor beyond heading north and south, with stairs going down to the north.

Mirafir, becoming ‘Invisible’ again, and Frimly follow Sigune and Thora. The corridor is 10’ foot wide and they can see that there are stairs, heading down to the north and up towards the south.

The 2 Warriors decide to head south and back towards the Main Entrance and move upwards for some 100’ feet.

Location - Firehammer Hold Halls
Location – Firehammer Hold Halls

Inner Hall:

The hall behind the Main Entrances stone doors has a 10’ foot-high ceiling supported by four pillars. 6 large stone basins, along the west and east walls, collect rainwater from a drainage system in the ceiling.

The Adventures agree that Mirafir and Frimly, both ‘Invisible’, would go ahead and scout out the inevitable waiting Duergar Warriors. Frimly changes and puts on his ‘Slippers of Spider Climbing’.

Firehammer Hold Gates: (21:10 pm):

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