Ptolus: City by the Spire

The Black Lake

Gideon hastily warned the others of the dragon slowly coming towards them. The party fled deeper into the winding caverns, hoping the dragon would not follow as well as hoping there may be a way out. Unfortunately, there was no way out, with the caverns just winding and looping back upon themselves. The good news, however, was that the dragon did not pursue them past the main cavern with the lake, which was presumedly its lair.

The party was cornered, with no clear way to escape without going past the dragon. Even returning to the rope ladder and making the dangerous climb would bring them dangerously close to the creature, and likely alert it again to their presence. Looking about, Thygurn spotted a small puddle of water in the corner of the narrow cavern they were held up in. Uttering a prayer to his goddess, Teun, he waved his hand over the water, revealing a hazy image of the cavern complex they were in.

Studying this image, Thygurn could see there were only two ways to leave this area – the way they had come and a passage on the other side of the black lake. He could also see a large black dragon coiled up on a small island in the center of this lake. From its vantage point, it could likely see the ladder the party used to climb down to this area. He also got a good view of what was clearly the dragon’s treasure horde – a large pile of gold and silver, gems and numerous art objects of dwarven make – goblets, platters, holy symbols, statuettes, and so forth. With another prayer, Teun caused the magical items of the horde to glow in Thygurn’s vision – a suit of mithril chainmail and several other items buried within the pile of coins. No wonder the party had found so little treasure and so many looted corpses in the dungeons above – the dragon had claimed it all and brought it here!

The dragon had stirred when Thygurn cast this spell. It now glanced about, warily, sniffing the air. It’s green eyes narrowed, then suddenly Thygurn’s reflecting pool turned black, blocked by a magical darkness. He ended his spell abruptly.

The dragon had sensed his magic, just as he knew it had sensed them. They made a plan of escape. Thygurn called upon Teun again, creating a magical silence about him. The party then rushed towards the ladder, climbing it’s 120 feet height as quickly as they could, hoping the ropes would hold their combined weight.

The dragon didn’t give chase. Now, back at the top of the chasm, the party took a moment to catch their breath. Instead of fleeing back to the city above, they, instead, decided to explore the rest of the foundry, hoping to find treasure or magic that may aid them in defeating the dragon.

They found many gruesome creatures in the ancient dwarven halls – a succubus, who cliamed she was imprisoned there by Ressad, some wizard that dwelt below (beyond the dragon’s lair?), a horde of dwarven skeletons (perhaps animated by that wizard), and lastly, they found the final resting place of Durgadin, the dwarven leader of this outpost that refused to flee with his kin a millennia ago, choosing instead to fight and die here in one valiant last stand against Ghul’s armies.

His tomb was now a defiled dwarven shrine. His skeletal body still wearing its ancient armor lay upon the alter of this shrine. Great piles of bones and the whithered leathery husk of a great orc warrior lay at the foot of this altar. As the party drew near, the skeletons animated into massive skeletal ogres, while the orc, now a horrible wight with eyes of glowing green fire rushed to drain the very life from the heroes. Again, the power of Teun was called upon by Thygurn.

Teun was originally a human deity, worshipped by the Prustan humans in the early days of the Empire. Her priests roamed the fringes of the civilized world, bringing technological improvements to those who were willing to submit to the law and order which the Empire represented. In time, her faith gained popularity among the Grailwarden dwarves, who welcomed her as an innovator and keeper of sacred knowledge. Today, in the dark days as the Empire teeters on collapse and technology is in sharp decline, she is said to hear the call of those who hope to preserve the technological innovations of the past. Although it is said she has since grown cold and distant, she remains ever fond of her dwarven followers, who epitomize her love of innovation, law and order.

A wave of golden light, shaped like a rapidly spinning cog erupted from Thygurn, rapidly expanding across the defiled dwarven shrine. It washed across the massive skeletons and the wight, destroying them utterly in an instant. The air grew still and calm as whatever dark curse once filled this chamber was lifted, being replaced with a tangible calm and sense of peace.

The party took some time to rest here. Maur and Thygurn paid their respects to the Durgadin. He was no longer surrounded by his enemies and could finally rest in peace. As the party rested, Gideon and Ian found a small bag of coins hidden behind a stone marked with a Delver Rune. They had no idea how it could have gotten there, but it was clear that some delver had made it this far over the past few years. Could these undead have been placed here by Ressad, as well?

The party, mulling over these questions, decided then to take the treasures they had found and return to the surface.

It was just after sunrise when they walked out from the Old Clock Tower. The late spring morning air was crisp. The sky clear as the city was awaking from its slumber. The party made their way back to their rent house for some much needed rest.

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CSDavis

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