Thune: Age of Woe

Gradenhelm

Putting the spirits to rest

In the coming days we each prepared a little differently, Von and Cryssan took up scouting the surrounding area around Dun Valor, Tracking any game they might have wrestled up or just trying to hone their individual skills while making certain nothing would approach the village as the villagers completed their chores. Borazan had a special project of his own going, making a new set of armor from the the crazy looking ingots he had found making our way from under Khardathas. I had no idea what kinda of metal it was, but Borazan sure beamed when he found it and had not a problem ordering Schneltheck to carry and protect all our valuables when danger arose, and arise it often did. Schneltheck was a gnomish guy we saved on our way out of Khardathas, we found him serving the religious cult that had taken up the halls of Khardathas that weren’t cut off from the outside world. He met us with no hostility and was pretty much happy to follow us out of the mountain. Spongicus spent his time meddling in his spell books and perusing the two sisters from the first night spent in town. Those two girls followed him everywhere he went. If it weren’t for the rigorous nightly activity of keeping two farm girls sexually satisfied he’d surely have gained 50 pounds due to the good home cooking they offered. Good for him I say his lifespan will greatly be shorter than any of the rest of the groups “spread yer seed boy ave at it.” I myself” Burk” couldn’t find a drop o “Holy Water” anywhere this side of a month’s journey away so I took to the village spreading Ilithions word giving blessing’s to those who wished. Being a dwarf and no stranger to work I also lent a hand in whatever daily activity to help make life easier for the village, for allowing us to stay, but soon night would come and we would have to no doubt take shelter.


The next morning though was time to roll out, we gathered our supplies and met once again in the center of town where our journey would take us to the west. A dwarven ruin, a place of dwarven purity a place that had been defiled by kobolds, trolls and you guessed it even durn blasted ogres too. They were led by a rather large two headed ogre looking creature Jhaeros called an “Ettin”.


“We shall see’ is all I could think of I wasn’t very thrilled that a piece of Illithion, a piece of dwarven ancestry could be over run by such. It made me want to purge the evil that over run our land. Then I thought about how Vonrictoven felt as his ancient homeland had been taken by a similar evil, Even Spongicus’s homeland met a similar fate. Anger flowed with intensity as these thoughts wandered through my my head. I remember thinking that whatever this scourge was I was prepared to follow Illithion to the very end in ridding it from our land once and for all!


We came upon the outskirts of Gradenhelm a little after midday, kobolds and ogres milling about completing the tasks as sluggish sloths in their disgusting way of life. We sent Von and Cryssan about to do our scouting. Vonrictoven had a little friend I do believe he was a pseudodragon a winged miniture dragon, that was completely loyal to Von. He named him Nipples, he and Sponicus’s familiar kept a watchful eye and gathered more intel for us than we could possibly repay in a thousand life times. When all the reports came back we decided our best plan wasn’t to just dive in like we owned the place, So we slow picked our way down to the only structure that was intact. Most of the rest of the ruins, were, well, ruined. This building was strong almost preserved in a sense. The spirit of Illithion was thick in the air I could feel the hair on my arms standing on end tingling like needles prickling my skin. We entered the crypt to the smell of a heavy dense stagnant air, and a set of stairs that led down. We hadn’t met any resistance as we descended though once we came to the bottom there were only a single room with a large stone bier and sarcophagus atop it. The room was large and decorated intricately with stone carvings that seemed to go on forever, covering the entire surface of all the walls including the ceiling. In the opposite wall was an open door with another staircase descending away from us. As we approached, the air over the tomb took shape into the shadowy form of a stout dwarf in glimmering armor brandishing a hefty warhammer. The old dwarf raised his head his face stitched with an age old worry.


“t’has been a long, long time doon ‘ere alone. Many a dwarf used t’come an’ pay their respects, but it’s been quiet ‘ere fer centuries. But from wot I can tell, th’ land aboove ‘as been just as dark as down ‘ere. That which is above is as that which is below.” Kheldin Battlecask’s voice eerily groaned. Making a hand gesture as I understood as the “Mark of the Tusks”, paying hommage to the boar as far as I could tell, he turned to me and continued. ““Ye got a long road t’hoe, lad. Th’ gods? They ain’t abandoned ye. They didnae abandon anyone. They had t’do a terrible thing fer the benefit o’ the greater whole. But it exacted a terrible, terrible price. An’ they ‘ave been in a state o’ deep sleep e’er since. Worse still they ‘ad to break th’ Twelvefold Decree, which also meant that that which is below—the horrors ‘neath our feet, th’ dragons in th’ mountains were also able t’ break free of th’ bonds of the decree. And that puts th’ world in a terrible position. Th’ gods dare not intervene again, an’ they lack the strength to even do so. Yer people, an’ the elves, an’ the men o’ the world—they are fractured, divided, and scattered. There is nuthin’ t’unite against a united force—the forces o’ darkness.”


“There ain’ much I can do fer ye except share my wisdom and give ye two tasks.
First, there are great evils planted and growing in our ancestral city—ye must root it out. I can feel it growing. Find yer way below and cut its roots before it grows. Ye will know it when ye encounter it.
Second, the Vale o’ our people is cursed. Surely ye ‘ave encountered it. The spirits of yer ancestors is corrupted. Ye need to free them from this curse. Perhaps ye migh’ stir within their corrupted spirits an aspect of their past. Take me banner an’ shield t’remind them. After that, lad, ye mus’ go out an’ find out more about wot ‘appened and do wot ye can t’cast the light o’ our people into the dark places. Good luck to ye, lads. May the ‘ammer of Illathoin strike true.”


“Check it out there Burk…. Look its a sheild.” With a very large dwarven huff Borazan blew about three inches of dust to reveal the design of a war weathered long tusked boar with a large warhammer inlaid behind its head. From there Borazan simply backed away and stated “I think that belongs to you buddy” No one else in the group argued his sentiment, being that symbol was that of Illithion. One could truly feel that this item possessed a power not like anything I’ve witnessed, after a short ritual of blessing it was almost as if the the shield and I became one. Now keep in mind my friends acquired items of similar power, and ye may try askin them to recant their tale, but from my understandin there was an evil beneath our feet that required attention.


We sent our scouts forward down the stairs to find a long windy corridor that opened into an underground cavern. Pausing a moment we sent Oh Spongicus’s little spider familiar who he liked to call pinchy. Pinchy and Nipples went and scouted around. Off in the middle of the cavern we could see a glowing orb and several shadow moving around the orb. Listening you could hear flap, flap, flap flap, it didn’t stop flap, flap, flap. Cryssan worked to the shadows stealthily creeping to the outter wall of the cavern one way, and Von the other. Flap..Flap…Flap. “Damn boys what is that flapping” I said……”Shut up Burk” Spongicus scolded him. “They’ll hear us”.


Von reported back first through his whispering stone, “Dragons, two of em, and they look to be babies, and they’re red.”


Borazan, Spongicus, and myself crept up as stealthily as we could muster, but dwarven stealth is comparable to waving a bloody dripping hunk of meat in the wind to chum in bears. So upon making a large rukkus that triggered the two dragons into action thus springing Borazan into charging the two beasts. Losing volleys of arrows Cryassan remained in the shadow while Borazan went to work swinging wildly his huge maul causing devastating hits to both beasts. Von on the other side loosed his volley dropping his bow to move closer to engage into the fray. Moving closer I myself felt my shield beckoning me to release it, and that I did. It flew from my hand and began circling me freeing up my hands to either bless my companions and heal their wounds or swing my hammer. Spongicus worked his magic in conjuction with the rest of our movements. We all battled harmoniously taking licks, giving licks, communicating commands that freed us from thought. We moved as one and even though no one died, I feel as though we were a lot closer to death that we may have realized. At the end two fledgling dragons laid on the floor and 5 tired companions rested licking their wounds against the walls of the cavern. Von aided myself in administering healing prayers, as Spongicus studied the glowing orb. Completely baffled four of us sat around watching the great Spongicus at work. He placed both hands upon the orb, where his gaze focused directly upon the thing. The orb began glowing with more intensity, then it dimmed, and flickered. You could actually see the wheels turning in his mind, whatever he was doing he had complete control over. Then there a rumble in the ground, a rumble that was deep in the earth, a rumble that came from a long ways away.


We ascended to where Kheldin’s spirit still stood “Congratulations me lads, Kelyssumbra has been resealed within her prison” he praised. “The hour is late, I assure if you were to take sanctuary here for the night I would watch over you.”


We took the offer and had the best nights sleep since I last slept in me own bed. So departed the tomb early the next day. We traveled about a half a day’s march to the giant dwarven statue without any resistance, we waited til nightfall where I began Illithion’s ceremony presenting the banner and shield waving it high and wide, while the shield circled around. Chanting to the highest crescendo, praising Illithion, calling him to put the restless dwarven and orcish undead spirits to rest. It was then that their spirits began rising from the ground to go upon their nightly haunt, but they just kept rising on into the night sky. It was almost as if the dwarven and orcish gods alike awoke, and accepted their fallen warriors into their arms embracing them for the rest of eternity. Torment ended, and embraced into their kingdoms, they no longer roamed the night, allowing the village and surrounding areas peace of mind that these restless spirits would never return.

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