Deciding to alter their plans at the last minute, the party reasoned that striking Edralve and Lamonstein outside of the city may be the best opening attack. Their out of the way location would make it less likely they could alert the other slave lords, should the party fail. The slavers were known for being adept at escaping their enemies and the party could simply not chance losing the slavers trail again.
By morning, the party had rented some riding horses and were on the King’s Road heading north toward the Moonsilver Forest. Maur mentioned that the place they were headed, Droskar’s Crucible, was not an old watch house as Malkeen had indicated, but instead the ruins of an old dwarven monastery.
Although much of the details of the place’s history was known among the Stonelost, the Grailwarden had some knowledge of the place. The Monastery had been established by the Stonemight Dwarves near the height of Dwarvenhearth, over 1,500 years ago. It was a holy place dedicated to the worship of Torag, the dwarven god of protection and strategy. Before the Ghulwar, the influence of the dark one spread throughout the lands, leading to the corruption of the priesthood here. They eventually succumbed to the worship of Droskar, the evil dwarven god of toil and hardship. They renamed the monastery Droskar’s Crucible and toiled until the end. When the armies of the Brightfather’s Pact advanced upon Ghul’s armies, the monastery was cleared by the victorious armies of light, leaving behind a ruined shell of a building. Rumors persist of a vast expanse of dungeons and mines beneath the Crucible, long sealed by the armies of the Brightfather over 700 years ago.
The map provided by Malkeen showed the monastery to be located off the King’s road, west of the small village of Larth. Being from this part of the world, Ian recounted that Larth is a tiny community north of Ptolus, home to about 50 or 60 people who make their living through either fishing or pig farming. It is a stinky, smelly town, referred to in Ptolus as “Mud Town”, due to the fact that it is nothing more than a collection of wooden hovels built on stilts to raise them from the surrounding mud flats. The people of Ptolus have little respect for the people of Larth, and the Larthians, without exception, have little respect for Ptolusites.
During this short travel, Gideon took an opportunity to speak with Ezekiel regarding his celestial powers. He wondered if Ezekiel would be able to heal Blane Merser’s broken mind. Ezekiel explained that while it would be within his power to heal him, he could not do so, for Blane’s madness held a greater purpose. “He has a role to play yet in this great chain we wield. I can not alter the Great One’s plans,” Ezekiel explained, cryptically.
About a short two hour ride north of Ptolus, the party arrived at the crossroads Ian was familiar with. The road to the east led towards the coast and the tiny hamlet of Larth. To the north, the King’s Road continued on to Balleton, a small village a full day’s ride north of Ptolus. According to the map, it was here they would need to leave the road and head cross-country through the densely forested hill country to arrive at Droskar’s Crucible. Any signs of a trail had long been lost to the overgrown tangles and brush and it was such that horses would now serve more a hindrance to their travels than any benefit. Tying the horses off at a safe distance from the trail, the party continued on foot. If Malkeen’s estimates were accurate, they should arrive at the monastery after about an hour.
About an hour and a half later, the party realized they had become lost. Knowing they should have already come to their destination, but still being surrounded by deep woods in all directions, Ian decided to climb a tree to help get his bearings. With a slight effort, Ian spotted the highest hill in the area and reasoned this must be the crag they were searching for. Realizing they had veered slightly to the south, he climbed down, corrected the party’s course and continued onward.
Just over a half hour later, near noon, the party arrived at Droskar’s Crucible. As they scoped out the area, they heard the distant howl of a wolf.Bracing themselves for the possibility of being attacked from forces both within and outside of the old ruins, they slowly pressed forward, gaining access to the monastery’s courtyard by climbing over the piles of rubble that had once formed the buildings eastern wall.
Ronas took a position allowing him to fire arrows into the courtyard, while still being behind the cover of the rubble, as Gideon, Maur and Brynnan moved into the open area to scout the best means to enter the building. Ezekial held back, keeping an eye on both the courtyard and the forest surrounding them. Ian spotted a crumbled section of wall that he could slip through to enter the building quietly.
Ian eased between the crumbled stones, emerging at the end of a hallway overlooking the courtyard. Scanning about, he noticed a small reptilian humanoid creature slowly walking down the hallway towards him. It was wearing a crude leather hauberk dotted with random metal scraps for added protection. A salvaged short sword hung at its waist, the tip of the blade dragging on the floor.
Ian retreated back into the shadows, scrambling for cover, hoping he had not been spotted. He conveyed to Gideon and Maur what he had just seen, allowing the two of them to take a position by a door in the courtyard that led to this hallway.
Despite failing an attempt to backstab the creature, the party was able to quickly dispatch the kobold.
The party pressed forward into the hallway, while the rest of their support took control of the courtyard. Searching several rooms, they finally came upon the two slavelords. A great battle took place, where Ian and Maur was able to press in and keep Lamonstein’s spells disrupted, while Gideon harried Edralve’s efforts to kill them with her innate drow elf abilities and magical long sword. The slavers were also aided by a pair of formidable gray wolves that did great harm to much of the party before finally succumbing to their numerous attacks. At last, Lamonstein lay slain by Ian’s hand, while Edralve fell to Gideon. Ezekiel arrived in the final moments, slaying the last of the wolves.
Searching the rest of the surface ruins, the party found numerous items of interest and some treasure. One item, in particular, was a drawing depicting a number of demon-like creatures in a cavern filled with countless vaults carved and embedded into the cavern walls. According to Ezekiel, these creatures were known as the Lawless Ones, or as they were called among the celestials, the Rhodintor. As he explained, they were a servitor race created by the Galchutt long ago. He knew little more about them. When pressed, Ezekiel told them that the greatest of the Malkuth and one of the first to ever come to this world, Falstef had been revealed the knowledge of the Galchutt. Sadly, Falstef had been lost to the Malkuth ages ago. His fate is unknown, but the Malkuth maintain hope that he will return to them before the end of days.