As dawn crested the horizon, sending shafts of amber light through the mouth of Lola’s Cave, our heroes (now finally dried out) awoke to find the morning well underway and the road stretching out before them. After collecting and recentering themselves, they loped off down the road accompanied by a spectral panther and a hulking direbear. As they reached the northern fringe of the great forest and passed into the plains, the sky again began to darken menacingly and reverted to the evil red sky that plagued it the night before. Foreboding crackles of red lightning streaked across the surface of the storm, lighting the plane in an eerie, intermittent hue in place of the natural sunlight. And it was under this lovely sky that our heroes reached the old mining town of Tenstone.
At first sight of the town, Aldric sprinted forward, leaving his companions behind in sight of his immediate goal, reaching the king. The banner of King Hestavarious III and Highlord Celedrir were plainly visible above the roofs of the town. Aldric, and later everyone else, passed by a dozen abandoned mining warehouses and refinery buildings on their way towards the banners in the central square. After a mild uproar concerning Lola and Shadow’s presences in the square, our heroes were able to pass through the ranks of guards encircling the leaders of the land and, under a still-crimson sky, met with the king to form a plan of action. The king was utilizing an old mining tunnel which ran beneath the River Vitos as a means for Celedrir to return to Escardona and see to defense affairs about West Esham, as this point was the only possible crossing of the Vitos for miles on end. After shopping at the local smithy for a few well-crafted dwarven metal items, it was time to accompany the leaders down into the Tenstone Tunnels.
West of town, the road ran almost up to the riverbank before splitting off and spiraling into a wide, circular ramp which must have sometime been the first quarry of Tenstone. The base of the tunnel held a bejeweled archway commemorating the wealth of the mines in ages past. The party followed the King’s men through the tunnel, heading west under the Vitos, passing many side passages and old mineshafts along the way. A large underground stream bubbled noisily through the tunnel about halfway through. Eventually, the Highlord and his party were escorted safely to the Escardonian side, and the remainder of the group prepared to make their way back to Geador. With the rear now the front, the adventurers ghosted ahead of the procession to clear the way safely. As they passed by the stream once more, however, all hell broke loose behind them. Dark magicks extinguished all light in the tunnel, plunging them into darkness while the king’s party was assaulted. A wounded dwarf crawled out of a side passage and lit a torch to illuminate the scene of carnage. The kingsguard all lay bleeding on the stone, as well as a few dessicated corpses in dark robes, and the king was nowhere to be found. Upon interrogation of the dwarf, it was gleaned that a cell of death cultists were operating a sacrifice chamber to Orcus here in the abandoned mines and the dwarf had just narrowly escaped during the scuffle, though with a grievous abdominal wound (which was healed out of mercy). The party left the dwarf and dashed in to seek out the king… again.
The side passage twisted and turned, passing deeper into the ground and eventually turned into a smoothed passage with marble floors and regular, though dim, lighting. A spearspike trap managed to slice into a few unfortunate adventurers before being dismantled with Aldric’s silver-inlaid carpentry hammer, and Aldric managed to mostly avoid falling into a spike pit trap hidden below a false floor. Mostly.
The passage sloped downward from the pit and the walls and ceiling began becoming progressively smaller until the group was forced to nearly crawl through an opening and enter the ritual chamber of Orcus. The King was chained to the wall near a bubbling blood altar, and two death priests were chanting ritually to prepare for a great sacrifice. The audience of worshipers turned as the party entered the chamber and a bloodbath ensued. After slaying the cultists (then trying to resurrect one, and then giving up and damning his soul to eternal torture inside the body of Orcus) and freeing the king, Sorrow investigated a few chests of supplies on the altar, finding a bit of treasure and a set of bracers for Keira.
Flame Bracers +1
2 Potions of Healing