Since the night of the 16th Édorum, the Iron Ravens have been helping the religious institutions of Cauldron in breaking the flood. The first night was a tense affair with some minor flooding in the lower poor sections of the city but with 7 wands of water control disaster is averted.
Eevi Ptolomy, Sigfrith Bakkerson, Elrik Bjornsson, lucius and Jurgen Frostbeard agree to help patrol the streets over the next couple of days and their vigilance lends an aura of optimism to the city. Soon the citizens begin to leave their homes and the festival once again is underway. Despite the strong rains still coming down, the common folk take to the streets in droves, crowds forming along the avenues as merchants and entertainers set up shop under cover of large colourful awnings.
On the 17th of Édorum the Drink Down the Flood contest begins. Jurgen and Elrik both enter. The two have decided to begin in different drinking establishments to avoid an early team elimination. Both make strong showings as Elrik out drinks all the contestants at the Slippery Eel Tavern while Jurgen’s dwarven constitution easily takes first at The Golden Hind Tavern.
Aldonis spends time among the poor of Ash Avenue using his adventuring coppers to buy bread and ale for those he knows to be down on their luck. His popularity continues to rise even as he himself tries to erase his contributions to avoid becoming the center of attention. During one of these Ale Kitchen’s he becomes aware of a stranger he’s seen hovering at the edge of multiple crowds. The stranger is dressed in black leathers, silver buckles and a voluminous red cloak. He also has a large wide brimmed hat that covers his features quite well. So far Aldonis has been unable to approach or identify the stranger as every time he tries to cut through or go around the food crowd he loses track of the man in black and red.
Lucius returns to his studies at the Bluewater Academy and makes his complaints formal in regards to his abduction and transformation into a rat several weeks ago. The clerk that files his complaint at the Wizard’s Resources Division is a nondescript man of forgettable features who advises Lucius that the matter will be looked into as soon as possible. Pacified, Lucius heads to the Libraries within, noting once again in passing at how large the interior of the tower is compared to it’s actual physical structure. He settles in among some books and uses his free time in spell research. During his book gathering forays he comes across Sigfrith who has been busily taking advantage of his membership to study the question his colleague had posed him. Sigfrith waves him off after a perfunctory greeting, clearly intent on his work.
Eevi and Sascha take part in the festival as entertainers, they roam the wet streets bringing music and stories to the crowds. Sascha has chosen to wear clothes that conform to her shape most pleasantly when wet and is the main attraction with her tales and songs (Nat. 20). Eevi accompanies and supports her act with her drums and voice while being tucked into dry corners.
On the 18th Elrik is eliminated from the drinking competition at he Drunken Centaur Inn much to the disappointment of his cheering fans. The winner there happens to a certain Red headed Stormblade. Jurgen on the other hand finds himself drinking towards another victory, not as easy as the first but still manageable.
On the 19th of Édorum, Jurgen has left the house the adventurers share a few hours before dawn to make his way down into Tahn Buhldir to help with his armour refit. He notices that the air seems to be circulating on some sort of artificial breeze, the corridors and rooms have new lights that glow softly and a deep thrum-thrum-thrum that just tickles the edge of his awareness. The three dwarves that have been given the duty of reshaping Kazmojen’s armour greet Young Jurgen as they arrive and work begins afresh.
Within the hour Argyle Ulfhræfn visits and watches for a cycle of hammering and heating before pulling Jurgen aside and asking to speak to him in his offices. Agreeing to his request the pair make their way to the back of the workshop, where a hungry Grell had once laid claim to not long ago, and into what was once a classroom. The room has been refitted with a large desk, several comfortable chairs, armour and weapon racks. There is also a Hogshead of Dwarven ale in the corner with several large mugs hanging on pegs. When Jurgen enters he immediately notices the Elder Dwarf sitting in one of the comfortable chairs. This third, unknown, dwarf is clearly ancient being thinner than is healthy with a long, scraggy, white beard dressed in wealthy clothes with a hint of chain beneath. Jurgen’s metal working experience tells him that the chain is made of some special ore but he is unable to identify it’s type.
Argyle introduces the Elder as Kharden Splintershield, and bids Jurgen to listen to what he has to say.
Struggling to sit up straighter the old Dwarf begins in a soft, raspy voice, “My son, Zenith Splintershield was the former Lord of the Malachite fortress” he points down “that guarded the underground approaches to Tahn Buhldir and the Dathrasi that live in the Cauldron itself. He was a righteous dwarven Defender and brought honour and renown to our clan." He pauses to cough. “He also went missing shortly after the Vanishing curse was unleashed on our people. No, not Missing, he left his post with a small army. Somehow the idea to purge the deep dark took root within him. A fool’s errand, and my boy is no fool!. I don’t believe he would be so reckless as to embark on such a task without the might of all the Dwarven Legions of all the Dwarven Clans let alone a small army.” He sits up and pins Jurgen with a look of absolute intensity “He lives! I have dreamed it, and I have come to cauldron to see Persephone at the Cusp of Sunrise, through her contacts I will meet with a Diviner to learn the truth about my son." He turns to Argyle “Argyle tells me you and your Kith were instrumental in reclaiming the enclave and the fortress beneath. Well, I would hire you and your group to help me in finding and retrieving my son… "
Jurgen promises to bring his friends and the meeting is arranged for the following day at 5 bells past the noon sun. Returning above ground he goes home and wakes Lucius from his sleep. Most of their conversation occurs through the wooden door as Lucius tries to shoo the Paladin away.
Sascha is spotted going to the kitchen, her hair untamed as she yawns hugely and heads for the morning Coffee, one of Cauldron’s many export crops, oblivious to all but her target.
Finally Lucius opens the door and after listening to the dwarf spin his tale agrees to go to the Academy to do some research on Zenith and the Underdark.
A heavy knock at the front door. A messenger with a thin fired clay tablet for Jurgen. The meeting has been moved from the next day to this one.
The group is brought up to speed. Lucius heads out and begins to buy healing potions and knickknacks, scoring himself a Cloak of Warmth in the process. He also finds out that Skie aldersun is a friendly shop keeper and sometimes gives an “Adventurer’s Discount” to loyal customers.
The Iron Ravens gather outside the Cusp, only Sascha, Lucius and Eevi have dressed appropriately in fine clothes. They are still let in by a mountain of a man who never says a word, just motions to a serving girl to come and guide the group to their meeting.
In the richly appointed room the group meets Persephone, a stunningly attractive woman and Kharden who has also dressed up for the occasion. Small talk ensues, food and refreshment arrive and within moments another woman enters, dressed in yellow robes. Lucius recognizes her as the Mistress of Divination studies at the Blue Water Academy, Stefania.
Divination’s are cast and much of what Jurgen had shared with the group is revealed again but now the words Eye in the Darkness and Bhal-Hamatugn come up, Zenith is confirmed to be alive, prophetic whispers in the deep, a prisoner without a cage and the Sea Mother. Stefania also pinpoints the rough location Zenith is at and having performed her spells, bows and leaves.
Argyle and the Ravens quickly go over what they know, and with the help of Persephone and her maps pinpoint an alternate entrance to the underdark as Argyle had the gates that lead from the Malachite hold completely sealed.
Kharden is pleased when his task is accepted and simply asks that the group do it as soon as possible as he feels his end coming soon. With that he provides the group with a bag of 500gp’s to help fund the expedition with promise of more wealth on their return. Argyle suggests sending a few of his Wolf guides with them as they have been scouting the areas surrounding cauldron for some time.
Leaving the Cusp of Sunrise, the group head home with plans to pack but on the way they hear screams floating from down the avenue. Hurrying forwards the group rounds the corner to see a large insect like monstrosity tearing into a warehouse with several crowds of festival attendees running, screaming or simply standing seemingly dumbfounded.
Sascha advances quickly with Aldonis following behind. He finds himself cut off from the position he wanted though. Jurgen stomps up the street, followed by Elrik, Eevi and Lucius. The battle proves to be taxing as several members of the group succumb to the beasts Confusing Gaze and the confused crowds hinder their attempts to close quickly.
Jurgen and Sascha get into melee combat, both at one point getting confused and wandering away to be swiped at viciously. Aldonis climbs a nearby warehouse to get himself out of range of it’s gaze and for a better vantage point. He rains down arrows and when his allies are not confused or wandering away he manages to sneak them into tender vital spots. Lucius climbs a nearby tree to do much the same, unleashing blasts of Magic Missiles while Eevi simply laces her Vicious Mockeries with magical power.
Elrik forges forward and begins to bring his Holy Mace into the fray. The adventurers have begun to close their eyes and this Disadvantage prevents their strikes from landing true.
One group of common folk turn on themselves and start to viciously fist fight, leaving only one man standing while the others run and finally manage to flee far enough away.
The creature turns on Jurgen and delivers terrible claw and bite wounds and as Jurgen stoically endures he opens his eyes to return the favour. Unfortunately the monsters large compound eyes confuse him and he begins to wander away only to be bitten hard by the creature as he leaves it’s threatening grasp. Jurgen falls.
Elrik Channels Freya’s mercy and focuses her healing powers to radiate outwards, Eevi uses her Healing Word and Jurgen and Sascha feel reinvigorated. The Dwarf targets himself with his Lay on Hands ability and heals for the full amount. The next round goes poorly for the monster as spells, arrows, Mace, Hammer and Axe fall upon it. It’s mighty claws rip into the dirt and stone beneath and it disappears, burrowing away from those surrounding it.
Taking a quick breath Aldonis notices that new sounds of destruction have started in the next warehouse over. Within moments the door is opened, and the adventurers manage to land the killing blow even as it tries to burrow away a second time. It;s corpse lies mostly buried in the ground, it’s shell cracked and split by the Hammer Blow that felled it.
The guards arrive and Skylar Krewis takes statements from the group. Some of his guards are overheard wondering how they will manage to get it out of it’s self dug grave. Jurgen mentions a Dwarven winch and pulley system and Skylar sends one of his guards to fetch someone who can help with it.
With the situation being handled by town guards, they are thanked by Skylar who treats the group as well known associates and are given leave to go.