Mysteries of the Nentir Vale

Scrooples the Gargoyle

In the gloom ahead, you see a massive stone slab blocking the way. The obviously thick and heavy slab looks impossible to move, but a broad set of stairs climb up to a pair of massive double doors. On the stairs sits an ill looking band of dwarven clansmen bearing tattoos similar to the ones adorning Duggin. And the adventurers are greeted by Duggin’s Clan-mates who seem to exhale a sigh of relief when they see you and the small troop of knights from Fallcrest.

Gwendar is the elderly leader of the Shadowed Chain cult is proud and autocratic in nature,

Serka is the devoted apprentice of Gwendar. She sees Gwendar as a father figure and maintains an aggressive and overprotective attitude toward him. She knows much but says very little beyond grunts of disapproval and growls of anger.

Rigdin is a young recruit to the cult. He says little, but his silence is merely a thin veneer of calm. Inwardly he vacillates between panic and despair.

The dwarves assure Duggin that Stonefang is still bound and seems pleased with the arrangements Duggin has made with the minotaurs and Humans of the Vale. As they talk they acend the stair. The gatehouse lies beyond the set of double doors that the clan opens graciously for the group. There is a thick lever is set into the wall beside the stairs. Next to it, a one foot-wide square channel in the wall runs straight up into the ceiling. At the base of the channel, a large circular impression contains a round nub of iron that is flush with the wall.

A hulking form dominates this chamber. It looks like a male dwarf the size of an ogre but made out of dusty, rusting steel. Beneath the dust. you spy Davek runes etched into the construct’s metal skin. Duggin incants an arcane phrase of some sort and the Construct moves at his command.

construct.jpg

The dwarves wave and wish the party luck as the construct once again closes the gate behind them. As they continue down the Black Phoenix Pass an expansive courtyard lies before them. A tall waterfall to their right creates a stream that bisects the courtyard and An old stone bridge crosses the stream. Across the stream, a tower looms high above, looking like it was hewn from the Mountain. citadel.jpg

Small fires light the citadel and screams of death reach the groups ears. A couple of strange dwarven statues adorn the road which cause you some alarm. Then as you begin to cross the bridge you see bizarre greyish creatures with no eye sockets attempting to gain entry to the tower.

basalisk.jpgTwo strange drakes move between the shadows, predatory creature who’s gaze turns a dwarven defender to stone; the weight of the new statue cracks the railing he was leaning against, and it falls and smashes to the ground, becoming a mound of small rock fragments.

grimlock.jpgSensing fresh meat the grimlocks licked the dwarven blood off their battle axes and turned to meet the group. Scrooples gracefully raced over the railing of the bridge –unimpeded and pushed the biggest brute off the bridge towards the waterfall. Shield naively charged the Basalisk and sensed a strange feeling in his legs as they began to harden and solidify. Duggin sensed the danger to his newfound friends and somehow managed to get one of the basalisks pushed off the bridge as well. The melee was going well till the stone gaze beast crawled from the river and turned its gaze upon poor little Scroople who’s little body solidified and began a statue. Sir Mike, Shield and Duggin bravely charged the beast and unmercifully slayed the monster in anger.

Pair-Gargoyles-Goblins-Mythical-Garden-Statue-Ornament-3-1.jpgPoking at the little statue, Shield tapped on its head, wondering about the little goblin. Is this what it felt like to lose a friend? Shield felt strangely uncomfortable – at first he found the little creature to be annoying, now that he was gone he kinda missed him. He did make a cute little gargoyle though…

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Duggin taps on the goblin’s head a few times. “Poor litt’el fello. He seemed like a good litt’el goblin as far as goblins go… I do think we could revive ‘im with the right ritual. I don’t have that one in me book right now though…”

Duggin puts his head down and thinks a bit. “Unfortunately our current mission is too important to delay, so we must go on. But I vow to return and save ‘im as soon as I can.”

OOC: The remove affliction ritual will do the trick. It costs 680 and there is a 250 component cost. We just need to pass by a town where it is available which could be quite a while.

Scrooples the Gargoyle
 

“Greetings.Friends. I am Rangrim, son of Thorvil, son of Thane Harvak of Clan Glintshield.” He holds up a torch and then spies Duggin. “Ah Duggin – it is you! You have returned to save us.” You note a bit of surprise in his tone. “Please come into the Citadel – as you can see it is no longer safe in the pass, we are besieged night and day. Father will be overjoyed at your return and our salvation from this attack.” Again you note a touch of sarcasm or cynicism in his voice.

You note that the dwarves have once again begun to rebuild the Citadel. You cannot remember a time when the Citadel was not undergoing reconstruction in some way. From the dwarven civil war, to the attacks of the severed Eye Orcs and now even worse the impending war with the giants is already scarring these ancestral walls – who knows what other battles this pass has seen. There is no way through the indomitable Ironwall Mountains save this one deadly route: The Black Phoenix Pass. War has found its way to this bottleneck time and time again.

The group follows Rangrim up spiral staircases to a square chamber encompassing the entire upper story of the Citadel. Dwarves are running all about, carrying the wounded, moving supplies and preparing for the next attack. The Dwarven leader Thane Harvak sits heavily in a stone throne and when Rangrim begins his introduction, Harvak waves at him to stop. Rangrim retreats sullenly to a place at a table where a slapdash feast is being prepared. Dwarves hurriedly throw plates and silver on the table.

“Colleagues, please sit and eat – you must be exhausted, Hrumph, I know I am!” Extending his hand he leads you to the table. “So you see what I’ve been dealing with. It will not be long till we are utterly besieged; I fear we shall not hold out long against this onslaught. We have not fought giants in ages and have lost the art of it. And now they are organized! I know of no one who has seen or heard tale of these simplistic monstrosities banding together in such numbers. Their tents fill the valley beyond the pass. I fear if you cannot do something- we are short in the world, the pass will be overrun, as well as the Vale in short order.” He rubs a dirty hand across his face and beard. The stress shows in his face and voice and you can sense the fear in his men around him.

Scrooples the Gargoyle
 

He regains his composure a bit and continues. “Still we are pleased you have come, and know you will succeed. “ He forces a toothy smile and holds up his mug in a toast. “This contingent from Fallcrest is a welcome reprise, and sorely needed. I hope others can lend reinforcements.” He takes a long pull from a massive mug of ale and wipes the foam from his beard. “Well let me tell you what I know – giants have been raiding in larger and larger bands. I have little hope for the farmers and prospectors that have not returned to the Citadel for safety. I have lost an entire Militia I sent out to initially stop them. These marauding bands consist of mixed groups of hill giants, stone giants, frost giants, and fire giants, as well as ogres and other monsters allied with the giants. The closest giant stronghold is a great timber fortress populated by hill giants, known simply as the hill giant steading. We have heard of this Nosnra, a grossly fat and thoroughly despicable hill giant chief that rules from this stronghold. Perhaps he has a map or some other clue that reveals where these allied strongholds are located. As you can see I cannot commit any more of my folk to this task. I don’t think a large fighting unit will be successful anyways, as this has already been attempted and failed. The fate of the Vale lies with you – you must infiltrate the steading and figure out what is going on.”

“Please take these Luck bender gloves and Boots of Eagerness to help you on this quest, I am sorry it is all we can offer, other than our blessings.”

Scrooples the Gargoyle
 

Two dwarves appear carrying the statue of Scroople between them. Another wheel-barrow was pushed into the throne room with another unfortunate dwarven statue in it. Havrek shook his head sadly. “I have sent word to Fallcrest, I have been informed they could help… but I cannot see how.” He holds up a magical sending stone. “I fear your friend shall be spending some time with us in the meanwhile.”

Scrooples the Gargoyle
 

Duggin, sensing the stress in the Thane’s voice tries to keep things optimistic. “Don’t worry m’lord, we have some of the best and brightest in the Vale here to help, I’m sure we will be able to thwart the threat b’fore they can overrun the pass.” Duggin hopes his own self doubt doesn’t show through in his voice. “Thank you so much for the gifts, they should be of great help.” Duggin looks around the others in the room and then asks the Thane for a private word.

Duggin begins chanting and waving his hands out into the air around the permiter of the room as if projecting a secret wall around the room. “There, hopefully we can speak in private now.”

“It is my duty to inform you o’ the encounter in the pass and it is a bit troublin’. We were ambushed in the pass by a Giant Shaman and his minions. He opened up a elemental rift in the ceiling o’ the cavern and slipped in. I was able close the rift of course, but the real troublin’ thing is that the Shaman knew me by my name! So it would seem that our enemies know much more about us than we do of them. How they are getting this information I do not know, but be aware they are watching…“

Scrooples the Gargoyle
 

Noise echoed through the wizard’s tower from his chambers above. Nimozaran the Green, a short and very old man in green robes was bent over a heap of tomes, scrolls and chests. The circular room contained tables with strange looking glass constructs. Nearly every surface had books upon books stacked upon them.

“Hmph! Where…is…that gods-damned…” The old wizard’s voice trailed off into silence. His liver-spotted hands probed deeper into the morass of long-forgotten treasures. One hand reached up to stroke his thin white beard. The old wizard’s features twisted and contorted, struggling as he was to remember where the specific spell was located. The party that Markelhay hired needed his help!

The Lord Warden had tasked him with watching the progress of the strange party he had hired to confront the giant threat. He’d seen their valiant battle beneath the mountain and the following fight against the basilisks. Poor little goblin had been petrified!

If only I could find that scroll, Nimozaran thought. A simple Stone to Flesh ritual-buried amidst the detritus of his past adventuring days (some 20-30 years in the past) could help Scroopel and his comrades.

Nimozaran stopped momentarily and began casting a spell. A wind started to blow with slowly increasing intensity. Immediately, the wizard sensed the presence of the unseen servant.

“Servant, I command thee to locate my Remove Affliction scroll. And do be quick about it!”

Several tomes flew through the air and were tossed aside. This went on for a few more moments when, finally, a scroll-case levitated through the air toward the old wizard’s feeble, outstretched arm. He hurriedly opened the case, his face brightening as he confirmed its contents.

“Ungh! No time to waste!” Nimozaran muttered.

He made his way to a clear section of floor, where there was a runic circle. He pulled some sort of powder out of his pocket and sprinkled it around him.

“Velek-Tah!” He shouted. Instantaneously, the wizard disappeared.

Scrooples the Gargoyle
Gianca1

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