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.
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.
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.
Two 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.
Sensing 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.
Poking 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…