All seemed bleak as the depleted group faced spined devils, Framarth the Theurge, Murkelmor, Duergar Guards and whatever else might be lurking. Felix threw her weight against the doors and held firm while the team reorganised. She also gave of her life spirit to Mordan using the Belt of Sacrifice – a move that could have saved the day. Grim took his place beside her as everyone made over to the South Gate room. Slamming the doors they frantically tried to agree a plan. Felix blocked the door with a bed, even though it opened outwards.
It was Durak who saved the day. Checking the huge iron fortress door he heard the ranting of mad dwarf and would-be-king Thain Cardanas beyond. They let Thain in and negotiated the sale of the fortress, leaving him to establish dominion with the aid of his rabble of berserkers. Ten minutes later, a little refreshed the team took up their responsibilities to the slave and went back in.
Thain’s team had been wiped out, mainly by the spined devils. But Murkelmor’s duergar were weakened. Gronek went east, spiking doors to watch their backs. Meanwhile Framarth and Murkelmor sneaked up behind the others. Mordan, on the edge of extinction, danced in and out of the battle. Felix blasted the head from the Theurge as well as bringing down the spined devils. Gronek waded in, the craghammer connecting more often than not. Grim dispatched a guard and Durak another before Mordan took his life in his hands to deliver the killing blow on the chief of the Horned Hold duergar.
The captives were released. Grim played a joke on Splug, swinging his maul close to the goblin’s head before landing it on the chains. Felix took responsibility for his old friend. Grim took Murkelmor’s magic maul and Felix grabbed a new amulet. Unfortunately two human captives and Thoran – Grim’s twin – were missing, apparently taken by gnolls. Returning the captives safely to the Seven Pillared Hall, they were once again welcomed as heroes to the Half Moon Inn for a good feed up and rest.
The next day a mysterious letter was delivered… “Your actions against the duergar are commendable. I am in a position of power in the evil organisation behind the duergar’s actions, and I wish to help you defeat my comrades. I have been seeking a way out of the organisation, and I believe you can help me. Follow the attached map so that we can meet in secret.”
The gang went to investigate and Gronek got caught between a rock and a hard place as Felix proved a hesitant climber and Durak a veritable spider-dwarf. Tieflings and a Bronze Warder could have caused havoc but Bigby’s Icy Grasp did its job superbly and prevented the warder from being the threat it could have been. Grim finished both of the tieflings and Gronek undoubtedly craghammered the Warder into oblivion.
Two more letters and a map were found… “I don’t care how you do it, but deal with these adventurers. Take one of the bronze warders if you must. If they remain in the Labyrinth, they could disrupt my plans. Once you’ve dealt with them, deliver their bodies to our gnoll friends, along with the enclosed scroll.
“To Maldrick Scarmaker, Exalted Chieftain of the Blackfangs and Chosen of Yeenogu:
Paldemar offers you the corpses of these champions as a gift of ongoing friendship, that our arrangement might continue to be mutually beneficial. May you savour their blood.
Your friend and ally, Paldemar”
The map gave directions to the Well of Demons, which is circled and marked with the word “Blackfangs.” Returning once again to the Hall (with the remains of the Bronze Warder!), the team of five found out that Paldemar is a member of the Mages of Saruun. He has been missing and out of contact with the Mages for many weeks. What you discovered about Yeenoghu: Yeenoghu has many names and each name reflects another fact of his cruel, savage nature. Most know him as the Demon Prince of Gnolls, but among the gnolls he is called The Destroyer, and in certain circles The Beast of Butchery or the Ruler of Ruin. He is a vehicle of destruction and was once a primordial, one of the shapers of creation, but was transformed and awakened by the mysterious Chained God, believed to lurk at the bottom of the Abyss. Yeenoghu hungers for carnage but also craves power. He goads his mortal servants into performing appalling acts of evil in his name, showing no mercy.
The next day being Freeday (day of rest) 28th Readying (Spring), the shops were closed and you rested up except for a stroll around the hall during which you read this notice on the closed Grimmerzhul duergar Trading Post. “Closed until further notice owing to a bereavement.”
Tomorrow is Starday 1st of Coldeven – a good day to assault the Well of Demons? Thoran is in grave danger…