Ebonhall Brothers

To Hellgate Keep and Back

Hellgate Keep. The name conjures up dreams of pleasant places, does it not? It was not always called this, of course. Once upon a time it was part of the ancient Dwarven nation of Amarindar, of which our ancestors were kings. Now, long after the glory of the Dwarves has faded, this place is used to summon demons – demons who breed with elves, no less! – and they befoul the resting places of our ancestors.

A powerful mage, dangerous beyond reckoning, lives up above, and we have escaped his notice (I hope) by making our way into the bowels of Hellgate Keep through underground means. As we tried to sort out the best route down into the lower levels, imagine our surprise when two elves came crawling up out of the depths! We reached an accord with them. They had some magic to seal off these tunnels for good and all, and we had six days to do what we need to do.

There’s a map of ancient Amarindar that we need in order to find the remaining items we seek. That, we must find. Apparently, there is some evil magic at work in these tunnels that will make any seal of theirs weak at best, so we go to seek that out as well.

To get there, we first passed through a long, strange hall, crafted by an ancient Elven mage. If you cannot resist its effects, it forces you to relive every memory of your life in vivid detail. Thankfully, the Ebonhall brothers are strong of mind, and none of us was so overcome. Anvil – I think no one truly understands how such a simple mind can be so utterly complex – even made contact with the spirit of this strange mage. For a few moments, he glowed with a blue light, brighter than any sapphire. As usual, his comments after were…strange.

We uncovered a grand burial chamber, littered with shattered sarcophagi. Our ancestors do not rest easy, it seems. One of these tombs, appearing slightly more recent than the rest, was a trap that sent us to a hellspawned chamber with a stone throne in it, carved in the likeness of the Hand of Bain. It was foul and threatened to destroy us, but the Ebonhall brothers are no easy prey these days, and we broke the power of that vile symbol in this place – praise be to Moradin.

One of the other tombs, also unspoiled, held in it a dreadful thing, a dwarf turned vampire. Staked through the heart and enchained with strongly crafted chains and wreaths of garlic, it would take little to awaken him, I fear. Yet I also fear we will have little choice in the days ahead, for we have learned of the Foundry of Souls, and only one whose soul has already fled can tell us more of this thing and the dangers it poses.

Putting that on hold until we must, we pressed on deeper into the underbelly of Hellgate Keep, where we happened upon a mirror with an imp trapped within it. I did not – still do not, nor likely ever will – trust this creature, but my brothers cannot resist a riddle, and three riddles had to be solved in order to free this creature. So now an imp dogs our steps and calls us master, but he is a spiteful, sarcastic wretch, and I like him little. He did tell us more of the Foundry of Souls, though I did not like to hear it. A smoke demon is now chained to it and forges weapons night and day for someone who can be little else to us and our kind but an enemy. He also told us of a vile, demon-conjuring sorceress who stood in our way.

We girded up our loins and decided to go after her. As things go, I’ve had terrible luck facing witches and sorceresses, and I expected to owe my life to Bravil yet again for his knowledge of herbs and healing magics. This time, praise Moridin, we were able to get the drop on the bitch and take both she and her big Nalfeshnee tusk monkey down quickly. That’s not to say we did it without cost – I don’t doubt I’ll have a bit of a limp for the rest of my life where that demon bit through my leg – but we prevailed, and we did it with little harm to ourselves. I count that a victory.

View
Blasphemy and Judgment

As things went crazy in the marketplace of Uruz, we hid in the shop of Lugh and waited. A secret door opened, revealing a dwarf who claimed to have been sent to rescue us. Sent by his superiors – the dragons of Clan Morueme. We followed his lead and escaped the tumult.

Once free, he provided information about the city and what was happening. We had – again – unwittingly set things in motion. But this time, we felt we could do something about it, so we returned to the city to free Bethor Ruby-Eye and his people.

We were told of a foul, blaspheming enemy who wears the beards of living dwarves as her armor. She would be too much for us to face, no matter how the thought of leaving her free rankled, so we set our minds and craft to the rescue of our fellow dwarves. Through long forgotten tunnels and doors, we entered the black market that thrives beneath the halls of Uruz above. Sneaking as quietly as we could – which isn’t much, thanks to Anvil – we made our way to the prison cells to release the leaders of Uruz from their captivity.

We managed to release Bethor and, in the doing of it, alerted the blasphemous bitch of our presence. We fought her and her foul mental attacks. It was a very near thing, and we all suffered much. I lost my nose and was blinded, for Moradin’s sake. I’m proud to say I still managed to get in a few good licks on her, despite that. Thankfully, Anvil and Bravil were able to lay her low. Then, with Kaga-Thura, blessed blade of the Ebonhall Clan, I cut off her head. At her death, her spells were broken, and all the dwarves who had been under her dominion were of sound mind again.

We returned the Ruby-Eye of Dumathuin to Bethor and left him and the people of Uruz to win their city back. In honor of the aid we received, we bade them open trade relations with Clan Morueme and ensure that all were profitable in that exchange. Then we took the evil witch’s benighted armor of stolen power and set off, looking for a way to destroy it.

View
The Grandeur of Uruz and Something We've Seen Before

Uruz, the City of Granite – never before have we seen its like. Surely this is what all Dwarven cities were like at one time: massive, elegant, beautifully carved, and prosperous. Alas, such things are now just dreams and ambitions instead of hard realities, but we work to return our people to the glories of the past, and such things will once again become ordinary to us.

When first we entered the city, I went to the temple of Moradin to pay my respects and to seek out his blessing, having had my faith somewhat shaken after my encounter with Schmee OneEye, worshipper of the despicable Gruumsh. There, I met the Mayor of this wondrous city, a most pious and blessed leader. Moved by his piety and devotion to Moradin, I offered him up an ancient treasure of his people, one of the twin throwing axes of Kormanthor, a weapon that has served me well since we discovered it. Thrilled beyond measure at the return of this precious heirloom to his clan, he invited us to stay at his Mayoral home, which we were glad to do.

Of the other people, forges, and shops of Uruz, there is, no doubt, much to tell, but I shall focus on the mercantile of Lugh Forgesmith, for it is there we found The Shield of the Mountain Bull. Such beautiful craftsmanship! Anvil must needs have this shield, for it is offensive as much as defensive, and he could do much with it. Given its magnificence, its value was far beyond what we could afford with the coin we had, but we had carried several rare and precious gems for many months, and we were hopeful that selling them to a gem-cutter who knew his craft might improve our situation.

Little did we know the true value of these gems! Bethor RubyEye paid us much and more, enough to purchase the shield. Anvil fairly itches now to go into battle!

During this time, Bravil had business of his own to attend – he met with a half-orc merchant outside of town and made a deal with him to deliver that accursed poison staff we liberated when we reclaimed the Silveraxe Hall as the new Grimbranvil Mine. Now two very powerful spell books the richer, we are able to be rid of the treacherous staff and we hold great magics in our hands.

I sought out the High Priest of Dumathuin, hopeful to learn the nature of the mysterious mark I received upon my person in the tombs of our ancestors. The priest claimed no knowledge of the mark, but I was certain he was lying. He offered to bestow the blessing of Dumathuin on me, but I trusted him not, so I made excuse and left.

A short while later, this same priest was overheard in the Mayor’s mansion, warning him to keep vigil on the Ebonhall brothers and to usher us out of the city quickly. Already suspicious, we began to investigate the priest and his activities.

Bolfast Tor still in our minds, we undertook this mission with a heavy heart, but our discoveries were enough to breed suspicion in the most trusting of minds. Hidden passages being dug where they ought not, accursed mental spells woven into the mayor’s crown, the excommunication of Bethor RubyEye, former high priest – these things indicated treachery and betrayal.

After learning more from Bethor and convincing him to take up his place once more, to fashion for himself a new eye to focus the spirit of Dumathuin, we managed – barely – to retrieve the original Ruby Eye of Dumathuin from the temple. This has caused tremendous uproar in the city, and we are now hiding, waiting for the moment to strike.

View
A New Breed of Orc and Masulk's Tomb

On our way to Uruz, the party opted to take a few days’ rest. Anvil and I went off to fetch fresh water while Bravil stayed behind to fulfill our duty and protect the merchants. We were gone but a few minutes when Batuk came flying to us, desperate and frantic. Having pre-arranged for such a warning in the event anything ill were to befall Bravil, we ran back as fast as our feet could carry us.

Being exceptionally quick, Anvil made it back to camp long before I could, only to discover two large orcs of the Ripped Gut tribe had laid everyone low. He tried to engage them, but the enforcer of the two, a monster named Brutal Pisser, had him on the ground and unconscious in less than a minute. I was left alone, with no way to counter the power of these two monstrous orcs…but it turned out they wanted to talk. I parlayed with them as long as I was able, hopeful that one of my brothers would awaken and we could find some way to fight them, but it was not to be.

They knew – had been told – that we had in our possession items holy to their despicable god, Gruumsh. They wanted them back. Also, they had been paid to waylay us. Having only one of the items on us, we struck a deal to give them back the necklace Anvil wore upon him, and Bravil would return to the mine to retrieve the staff. We also gave them my ice axe and the bow recently liberated from Morgho the Adjudicator in exchange for information.

We were betrayed by a tattooed dwarf – always they dog our steps! – and we know that we remain under their observation. Even now, they watch us.

Strangely, after much talk, we parted, not as friends, but no longer enemies either. A mutual respect was born in our discussion. Anvil was even invited to visit their stronghold to spar! In the end, we left with a token from their people to allow us safe passage through their territory.

Having gone through that, we went on to hunt down Masulk’s Tomb. The legendary wizard made sure his tomb was well hidden but, after much searching, we found it. After thoroughly exploring the caverns and finding the magic items belonging to Masulk, we successfully answered the damned sphinx and got answers of our own in turn. Learning how to avoid the dreaded curse of Masulk, we went after his treasures.

A long suffering creature, Unamel, served as a faithful guardian of Masulk’s bones. He was a mighty opponent, and the fight went hard for us, but he eventually ceded the fight to us. We cannot say we destroyed him, for we certainly did not, but he gave up the fight at long last and we recovered the final rings of Masulk without disturbing his bones. Finally at peace, the flying carpet holding Masulk’s bones came to a rest, and we left the ancient tomb.

Now, on to Uruz.

View
Nameless Dungeon, Pt 1

Friday, February 5, 2010

The party traveled from Llorkh to Elvenport, accompanying the merchant brothers with whom we contracted to protect. Prior to leaving, Thorgrim was given the dragonbone staff of Elijahn Wolfsbane. In Elvenport, he sold it to acquire a new spell book (Magnetic Mastery).

Meeting with Elana Silverhair, an ancient elf, Bravil asked her to teach him arcane healing spells. She agreed, in return for us helping to clear the Nameless Dungeon and return it to her people for its original purpose.

We went to the Nameless Dungeon and did as she asked. We got lucky when Bravil was able to type and control The Warden of the Dungeon, learning the rest of the levels secrets before having to face them.

We defeated the Brander and narrowly defeated the Gatekeeper to successfully complete the first part of our quest. Along the way, we also rescued Yahtzee, a half-snake/half-human creature, from the depths of the dungeon. We also liberated several casks of ancient elven wine and, upon defeating The Brander in battle, a treasure hoard totaling 2000 pieces.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.