Exploring Illefarn – Chapter Ten

Exploring Runedardath – Chapter Ten

Exploring The Dwarven City of Runedardath:

28th Day Of The Drawning Down (December)

Main Entrance Map - Dwarven City
The Main Entrance Map

Having found the entrance to the Dwarven City we had proceeded inside. It was totally dark within. It was also very quiet with our footfalls or the sound of our breathing echoing around the place. Being human Sir Ly was unable to see so he activated the enchanted rock globe, with ‘Continual Light’ cast upon it and given to him by the good Lady Bronwyn. Immediately he caught a look of annoyance from Galan the Elf Ranger and the other member of the party who could see in the Dark, but he had to be able to see as did Sigune his fellow knight of St Cuthbert. Galan and the others would have to live with the Continual Light’ or rot in the Shadows outside the range of it.

Sir Ly looked around the entrance chamber (Room 1). To the East was an opening to another chamber which is currently blocked by a Net Trap, to the West a doorway into a large Chamber still shrouded in Darkness while to the North another doorway shows a tunnel that turns East after 10′ feet.

We decided to investigate the trapped entrance first since it had to have been logical to surmise that such an ingenious trap could only have been erected to protect something important beyond it. To prepare for this, Frimly slipped on some ‘Magic Lenses’. After that he then avoided coming near lady Bronwyn’s gift. He had no light of his own yet could see into the Darkness as well as any Elf, Dwarf or Orc. Such an item would be very useful. It was a shame that there were not two more pairs of them for Sigune or Sir Ly.

Mirafir prepared too, he created his “Unseen Servant” once again. This had proved useful on prior expeditions and so will it in the Dwarven City. He would use it to lead the way or push open Doors ahead of us.

Galan and the others, avoided the area of my Light, then took up position to watch the North opening of the Dwarven City.

From inside the entrance hall Father Tobias and Sir Ly watched the Western opening.

Good Father Tobias was a very brave priest but had an odd habit of trying to prove him in combat. His heart is that of a Warrior but his training is not. This bravery has gotten him into trouble in the past so Sir Ly opted to watch with him on flank. This way he could make use of the ‘Continual Light’ that Father Tobias carried.

Sigune looked North for a minute trying to Decet Evil that may lurk there with her Holy sense. After a short time she was confident she could Detect none. It was quiet. The calm before the storm perhaps.

First Spell In The Dwarven City:

Mirafir, preceded by the ‘Unseen Servant’, Frimly and Thora went through the Eastern doorway. Beyond the trapped door in the east was a 30 foot square room (ROOM 14).

Runedardath - Room 14 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 14

It contained a statue of the Dwarven God Morodin. Also inside the room was an ancient Skeleton of a Dwarven and Orc Warriors. Broken Weapons littered the floor but other than dusty debris the chamber was otherwise empty.

In the East wall they spied a 10′ foot long passage way leading to another, closed, Door.

A quick push from the ‘Unseen Servant’ did not move it, nor did that Door open when the handle was gingerly turned. Blocked by this they urged Frimly is over to it to work his own kind of dextrous magic. He got out his Lockpick Tools to pick the lock but try as he might he was foiled by the age old lock of this Dwarven City, it had probably seized up over time.

Well if finesse wouldn’t work there was always frontal assault. Thora kicked it open. The Loud Bang of the impact on the Door reverberated, echoing around the mine. Thora wasn’t that loud but the mine of Runedardath was so deathly quiet that the sound was magnified within its confines.

The door opened into another square chamber of similar size (Room 13).

Runedardath - Room 13 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 13

There was a Door in the East wall of this empty Chamber, but this one was slightly ajar piquing the interest of the Adventurers.

They swiftly resolved to continue that way so everyone followed in Thora’s direction. Mirafir directed his ‘Unseen Servant’ to pick up a piece of bone. It was then sent to the open door with Frimly just behind its spectral presence.

Father Tobias, Galan, Sir Ly and Sigune then vacated the entrance chamber of the Dwarven City (Room 1) then headed into the statue room (Room14).

At our rear Galan sensed movement behind so he knocked a Longbow Arrow ready for trouble.

Meanwhile in the empty room (Room 13) the ‘Unseen Servant’ pushed the slightly open Door wider. Thora moved onto his shoulder. The fully open Door revealed a long corridor heading East. There was faint movement on the floor.

Rats In The Dwarven City:

Out of the Darkness two unusual looking Rats approached Frimly. They looked odd, emaciated and with grey fur, but before they could be examined further a shaken Frimly threw a cloak over them.

Father Tobias went up to them. Frimly insisted that Father Tobias Turn the Rats as he believed them Undead. He lifted up the Cloak while brandishing his Holy Symbol. The Rats were strange. They were Town Rats, not the native Brown Rats of the countryside. They were very scrawny, cadaverous even. Cadaverous was more than apt, actually the Rats had a single blade wound and were also DEAD!

Monster - Undead Rat
Monster – Undead Rat

Undead Rats, what monstrosity was this? Repelled by the Symbol of St Cuthbert they scuttled away into the Dark. Looking down the Adventurers saw lots of bodies littering the corridor. They were old, dusty and decayed. Not the remnants of any recent fighting.

As well as going West another open shows a Corridor heading North.

Everyone bar Sigune and Galan were now in the empty room (Room 13). Sigune and Galan alone in the statue room (Room 14). Galan, keeping watch with his Infravision, heard movement in the entrance hall (Room2). For a brief second an Orc face appeared out of the Darkness at the end of the corridor but rapidly disappears again, into the Darkness of this old Dwarven City.

We had been seen.

The two Paladin knights and Galan considered discretion the better part of valour so they headed back to the others in the empty chamber (Room 13). At least that is what they told themselves.

Sigune and Sir Ly actually wanted their comrades to be present when they demonstrated their battle prowess, not defeating the Orcs without an audience. Vanity, as St. Cuthbert would agree, is the greatest sin of the (self) righteous Paladin.

As they reached the others in the empty Room of the Dwarven City, Sigune wedged the Western Door shut behind her (Room 13).

Mirafir exited the empty Chamber but as he passed the open Doorway in the North wall of the Eastern passageway, an Arrow whistled past his nose. It was a very near thing but clearly St Cuthbert had listened to the prayers of good Father Tobias. His divine gentility shone down on the brave Adventures leaving Mirafir shaken but unhurt.

Mirafir ducked down. Galan peered around the doorway but could perceive nothing but Dark corridor. The Arrow had either been fired at extreme range or the Archer had backed down the corridor out of sight.

Sir Ly approached but was curtly ordered back. WithAarrows flying, his ‘Continual Light’ was most unwelcome. He hooded the stone dowsing the ‘Continual Light’ while awaiting Galan’s signal to advance.

Ahead of Galan the corridor stretches Eastwards. Looking more deeply down it, he spied a second opening in the North wall. Perhaps, given the sharp right angles of the Dwarven complex, that would run directly North, parallel with the corridor down which the arrow had been shot. Such a route offered a way for the Orc Archers to be flanked.

Galan could also see that the Western corridor opened into another slightly larger square Chamber extending in the south wall (Room12). First glance showed it to be empty but Galan couldn’t see round corners so could not be certain what lurked there.

Another thing about this Western corridor was that it was less dusty at the far end with many Footprints in it, unlike other areas of the Dwarven City.

Goblins In The Dwarven City:

From the North corridor two Goblins appeared out the Darkness, perhaps thinking the party had all moved past. However, Galan was Hidding in Shadows and fired at them. His first Longbow Arrow missed but the second found its mark wounding the Goblin in the shoulder, making him drop to one knee. Sir Ly and Sigune then ran round past Galan, heading directly up the corridor towards the Goblins. Well this time they had an audience for their battle prowess. Not an opportunity they would pass up.

Galan: Orcs and Goblins working together, Like those that attacked us while on caravan duty and thoses Adventureres looking for Runedardath Under Mount Illefarn.

Orcs Playing
Orcs Playing

With the two Paladin’s charge having blocked the corridor, the North opening had been made momentarily safe from flying Arrows. Thora, Mirafir and Father Tobias took their opportunity and rushed past the opening. They headed along the Eastern corridor in the larger chamber (Room 12).

Runedardath - Room 12 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 12

The Goblins fled the onrushing pair of Paladins. The top of the Northern corridor ended in a T-junction. Unluckily for the Adventurers, the Goblins ran West, away from the parallel corridor. The Western corridor had an opening in the South Wall but the Goblins ran past it. Instead the Goblins turned North before they disappeared beyond a narrow 5′ foot wide Corridor opening whose end was shrouded in Shadow. Its as if they had done this before in thier Dwarven City.

The Paladins continued to follow the Goblins , heedless or uncaring of the fact that they may have been about to be led into a trap. As she closed on her quarry, Sigune then spied 2 Goblins in a chamber beyond the narrow opening, Short Bows in hand. She rushed on into it.

Sir Ly & Sigune
Sir Ly & Sigune

Meanwhile the other trio of Thora Mirafir and Tobias had traversed the large Square Chamber (Room 12). It was indeed empty. They wasted no time searching it, instead they rushed through the Northern opening. They headed along the corridor into a Rectangular Room (Room 10). There was a closed Door in the Eastern Wall (Room 11). They found a second doorway in the western wall so they headed down that hoping it would take them back towards the Orcs they were trying to flank.

Sigune rushed in. Too late she saw that 4 Orcs, this time with Scimitars and Shield in hand, were deployed in small Oblong Chamber (Room 8). They were arrayed behind crates and had set 2 of the Goblins ready to fire a volley of Short Bow Arrows at her, the Goblin shot by Galan was not one of the two. She could not die alone! Sir Ly rushed in behind her.

Runedardath - Room 08 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 08

From their rear position Galan and Frimly ran up the North corridor as they followed the route taken by the two Paladins.

Thora, Mirafir and Father Tobias connected from the Western corridor. They arrived at the far end of the narrow opening just as Galan and Frimly did so from the South end of the Dwarven City.

In the narrow 5′ foot opening, Sigune was hampered by the crates and narror 5′ path so she could not get through into the room to smite the Orcs and Goblins. She had to retreat. As she did so she was struck a glancing blow but she was barely hurt, saved by her stout Armour or the continued good grace of St. Cuthbert.

Thwarted by the Orcs and Goblins Sigune inwardly fumed.

As all seven Adventurers regrouped, Frimly examined the Door in the South Wall that they had just run past. It was a Latrine, a clean Dwarven one with still working plumbing. Frimly was almost impressed with this Dwarven City (Room 7).

Runedardath - Room 07 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 07

Mirafir had an idea. Sigune, knowing the Spell he was about to cast, got ready with a Flask of Oil. She lit the touch paper on a long fuse while Mirafir successfully cast “Web” out of his enchanted ‘Ring of Spell Storing’. The ‘Web’ spread out around the Orcs and Goblins in the Chamber so that it trapped them all, or so we thought. They were held fast within its sticky strands. Sigune then applied the coup de grace by hurling the Oil Flask into the ‘Web’. It instantly erupted in a sea of flame. All the trapped Orcs and Goblins burned to death. Their pitiful bleating, squawking howls of agony echoed around the Chamber.

As the fire subsided the Adventurers saw 4 smouldering corpses. Not 6 as there should have been. The 2 Goblins had got away, plus the one with Galan’s Arrow in it, 3 in Total. They had seemingly fled down a Ramp in the West Wall.

When the fires had died down Frimly searched for the mechanism that moved the wall to compact the corridor. However he could not find anything so he reasoned that it must have activated long ago when the ancient pulleys finally gave way under the massive weight of stone.

Footprints in the thick dust around the narrowing of the corridor seemed to corroborate that.

No one enters to check this area of the Dwarven City (Room 8).

Good Vs Evil
Good Vs Evil

As he looked up from inspecting the wall Frimly was shocked to find a second pair of Undead Town Rats staring at him from the Western end of the Corridor.

Monster - Undead Rat
Monster – Undead Rat

Galan smote one with his Short Sword but missed the other. Frimly appeared to be looking at the Rat then Father Tobias turned the second one with his Holy Symbol. Sir Ly was so revolted that he smashed its skull with his Sword as it scurried away. This was most unnerving.

What was their interest in Frimly?

Was he intrinsically Evil?

Was he cursed?

Had he been Charmed by an Evil Sspell Caster?

Was he in possession of a Cursed or Evil Item that attracted them to him?

Sharing Loot
Sharing Loot

Father Tobias would have to watch Frimly very, very closely.

Casting his mind back, Father Tobias ruminated further. Had not Mirafirs Augury foretold of a betrayal by Frimly. A woeful Thora had said that he did not know what he was doing, had not meant it, had not meant any harm, but why had he done it?

What on earth was it that Frimly was going to do to his Comrades?

What Doom was he to unwittingly unleash?

The Augury had not said. But forewarned is forearmed. Everyone would have to be really cautious around Frimly from then on. Bestial Undead are not attracted to the Good or the Righteous. Frimly had great darkness in his soul which would have to be removed.

But at what cost?

Father Tobias had never performed an Exorcism or knew if it was even possible to do so.

Father Tobias was gravely worried. He would pray to St Cuthbert for guidance. He hoped that it was not too late for Frimly to be saved but was not sure.

Frimly was certainly tainted but was it utter damnation or could he yet be borne back to the paths of the Holy Light?

Backtracking along the East-West corridor, the Adventures turned back into the North-South corridor along which they had rushed in their haste to aid the 2 Paladins.

There were 2 Doors that were unchecked. One in the corner of the Rectangular room (Room 12), the other off the parallel North-South corridor up which the Paladins had charged.

It was the latter Door to which Frimly went. He examined the lLck of the Door and was surprised to find that it both Highly Complex and also very New looking. It was not in keeping with the antiquated, ancient fittings found in the rest of Runedardath Under Mount Illefarn. This was very interesting.

He worked to Pick the Lock. He concentrated, took his time, repeated his efforts many times but was thwarted by the complexity of the lock.

What was beyond the Door that requited being guarded by the stoutest of New Locks. This was more than curious, this was positively intriguing. Also potentially profitable, which for Frimly, was the only kind of interesting he cared for.

While Frimly worked on the Lock; Father Tobias and Mirafir explored a Chamber in the North Wall off the East-West Corridor (Room 9).

Runedardath - Room 09 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 09

Inside they found a Dead Orc. Father Tobias used his knowledge of leech craft to discover that the Orc was very recently killed, 4 or 5 Days. Also he saw that the fatal wound looked very similar to those made by Thora’s Battle Axe.

Could there yet be Dwarves in Illefarn?

Could Korin Ironaxe himself yet live?

Dwarf Fight
Dwarf Fight

When he returned back into the Rectangular Chamber (Room 10) Father Tobias felt the floor give a little beneath him as he stepped on the doorway. He then heard a dull rumble as the Wall at the entrance narrowed 1′ foot or so. However the Ancient Machinery then gave way. To the priest’s relief the wall stopped moving. The entrance had narrowed, only 1′ foot or so, but was still wider than the entrance to the ramp room (Room 8) where the Orcs had been slain, 5′ foot wide.

Runedardath - Room 10 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 10

Thinking this Mechanism must have protected some important Chamber, Galan and Father Tobias search the Rectangular Chamber for Secret Doors. Frimly eventually joined them, thankfully devoid of Undead Rodentine companions, to look at the Door in the East Wall. It was also locked but the Lock was more in keeping with the majority of Runedardath’s ancient fixtures. Frimly was able to pick it with ease. He hadn’t lost his touch after all. He discovered another well equipped ancient Dwarven Latrine (Room 11).

Galan and Frimly, having been warned by Father Tobias of the moving Wall Trap, checked the far North-South corridor but found nothing.

The Adventurers were now confident that they had checked or had secured all the Eastern sector of the Entrance Level of Runedardath. Then had spent much time looking and it was now time to explore the Western side.

To the East side of the Entrance Chamber (Room 2) was another large chamber (Room 3). There they surmised that it was an area where Large Blocks of Stone had been evaluated. In the centre of this Large Chamber was a Ramp heading Down. However it was all blocked by rubble. A Crack in the ceiling suggested, running more or less North to South, that ancient or recent seismic activity had caused a partial collapse of the ceiling of the Chamber. In the West Wall was the only other Doorway out of this Large Chamber.

Beyond this Doorway was a straight Corridor heading directly West. Two further Doorways led off this heading North whilst a third doorway headed South.

The Adventurers quickly checked the near Doorway in the North Wall. It was found to lead to a narrow Chamber filled with more blocks of worked stone (Room 4). Cursory searches of the Southern Doorway and the farthest Northern Doorway revealed ancient tool stores. Only the tool racks were intact. The stores had all been ransacked decades ago with nothing salvageable. All the Chambers were dead ends.

Runedardath - Room 04 - Dwarven City
Runedardath – Room 04

The Adventurers then headed back to the chamber in the North eastern Corner (Room 9). It was strange that the Orc body was relatively fresh, having only been killed 4 or 5 days earlier. This was just before the Earthquake which led us on this journey had taken place.

On the way back towards the Eastern sector Frimly was yet again approached by 2 Undead Rats. Father Tobias had his Holy Symbol ready while Frimly was Intensely looking at the 2 Rats that where sitting and staring up at him. The 2 Rats were rapidly repelled by the divinity of St Cuthbert, Frimly looked at the Cleric in displeasure. However both Frimly and Father Tobias were deeply concerned.

Why did this keep happening?

What was creating these foul bestial Undead?

Were they spying on us?

They began to discuss the matter, but this was not the time for conversation. Thora turned Frimly’s attention to the locked Door. She asked him to tell her what he had gleaned about the Lock. Both were convinced it could only be Dwarven Craftsmanship. But it was new.

What was going on?

Thora elected to smash it down. It proved to be very stout but eventually Thora’s great strength prevailed enabling her to break open the door, once again making enough noise to wake the dead. Beyond are Stairs going Up. The Staircase is long.

Thora had a good thought so she called Galan over to examine the area for Tracks before she walked in. Galan looked at the stairs for a long while concentrating hard. Then he confirmed that a great many beings, large and small, shod and unshod had been both up and down the Stairs.

The Staircase was long. It led a long way up into the Mountain. Upwards was not necessarily the direction in which we needed to go.

Wasn’t the source of the river pollution was below us?

If so surely we should be going down not up?

The Adventurers had divided opinions on this.

PC Conflict
PC Conflict

Unperturbed by the arguments of their companions, Frimly and Galan ponder whether or not to go up the stairs (Passage 15).

To Be Continued…….

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