Hammer 5, 1372 (continued)
Cloudy. Light Winds Easterly force 1, Light Snow
Relieved to be off The High Moor the Party find a campsite about 50’ from the edge of the Forest and settle down for the night. During Carandel’s watch a slender female elf steps out of the shadows, her arms open to show that she is not carrying any weapons and greets Carandel by name in elven. Carandel raises his bow and kicks Elrad to wake up. The elf introduces herself as Coromir Maralethion from the court of Lord Lotharam in the North of the Misty Forest. Invited to sit down, and switching to the Chondathian language of the Humans she explained how Sir Elorfindar had requested her Lord to look out for the Party returning from the High Moor and if possible give them aid. The group shared some food prepared by Scaramon, (who can make even water taste like the richest soup … with a little magical help of course), and Coromir offered some wine to everyone. Carandel took the bottle of wine offered to him and had a drink followed by Therrion who found the taste not to his liking to the extent that he felt momentarily sick. During the meal the party explained to Coromir that they were going to the Forge, (also know as the Fort), but only hinted at parts of the larger picture as to why they were going there. Coromir offered to accompany them and her offer of help was accepted. While Elrad and Scaramon rested in the early hours the others discussed with Coromir about the Misty forest and it’s environs.
At first light the Party moved on to the Forge with Coromir leading the way. As they approached Carandel, Elrad and Scaramon scouted ahead with Carandel scouting the West of the hill on which the Forge is hidden and then Elrad and Scaramon scouting the East. During the scouting mission East, Elrad’s curiosity got the better of him and he decided to investigate more closely the ruined bathhouse of the Forge where from their last visit they knew there was a hole in the hidden perimeter wall.
As he had climbed about half way up the steep hillside he suddenly became aware that the trees around him were moving and could see vaguely humanoid shapes moving towards him! The next second he was hit by a volley of small needle sharp shards. Elrad rushed to attack the nearest Needleman while Scaramon loosed off a crossbow bolt, and then cast Snilloc’s Snowball Storm creating a whirling cloud of snow and razor sharp ice shards that managed to catch all the five attacking Needlemen in its area of effect. The rest of the Party arrived after hearing the sound of the initial attack and joined the combat and together they made short work of the Needlemen.
Carandel, concerned that their plans of stealth had been ruined by Elrad deciding to approach the Forge rather than scout as agreed, confronted Elrad and while they exchanged words on the subject Therrion studied the dead Needlemen. Therrion remarked that he knew of these creatures, but that it was odd to find them about in winter as they hibernated.
The Party decided to approach the forge via the ruined bathhouse and Elrad scouted ahead motioning the party forward when all was clear. As they approached the Forge they noticed that the snow around the edge of the structure had melted. The party entered the Forge courtyard, where they have been before and discover the wooden covering over the Tear Key Door, (set in the bottom of a 10’ deep pit), has been completely removed and the door is open revealing a set of stairs that curve around the edge of the pit and descend into the darkness. The air in the courtyard was noticeably warmer and Scaramon noticed that there was a thin wisp of white smoke coming from the large chimney in the corner of the Forge.
The Party also spot on the outside of the pit, about 1’ away from the edge 5 silver “spikes” spaced equidistant around the circumference of the pit and hammered into the stone floor of the courtyard. Scaramon uses a spell to ascertain if the spikes are magical and discovers that they form a protective pentagram covering the pit.
Carefully Elrad, with a rope tied to him for safety, descended the steps and checked for traps. He continued walking down until the rope ran out at which point of the Party decided to follow him down. About half way down the pit the Party came to a section of stairway that had given way leaving a 7’ gap. They decided to jump across and despite precautions Therrion was nearly killed as he missed the jump and the rope holding him slid through the fingers of Coromir and Elrad! Fortunately he manage to land on the next set of stairs beneath them and did not plummet all the way down to the bottom of the pit.
At the bottom of the pit they found a large set of double doors and almost opposite those a small set, both sets standing open. Searching for tracks in this area Carandel discovered two sets of markings, one set indicating that a party of probably 3 humanoids had gone in and out, (or out then back in?), of the smaller door, and another set belonging to a very tall emaciated or bony creature that had done the same. Although he could tell that the creature’s tracks came after the humanoids he could not work out if the tracks indicate that they were still in the Forge.
Carandel approached the large set of doors and lit the torches on wall sconces just inside the door. In the large room beyond the Party found two round wide pedestals 1’ off the ground, on one was a large object covered with a sheet and the other a crumpled sheet. The large object was uncovered and it was revealed to be a strange machine shaped like a huge Manta Ray with an 8’ by 5’ compartment set into its back and a large unlocked chest at the back of the compartment. At the front of the compartment was a 1’ x 1’ steel box with dials and levers. Carandel examined the other pedestal and from what he could tell the cover had been removed recently.
Beyond the small set of doors was a corridor sloping gently downwards and the Party proceeded cautiously along it until it turned sharply to the left. On the bend in the corridor stood a doorway whose door was slightly ajar. The party carefully searched the area and found a short corridor running left to right beyond the door with 5 smaller rooms leading off it. The two end rooms each contained two beds and two open chests, the remaining three rooms contained only one bed and one chest. The Party was extremely cautious in this area and Coromir’s impatience got the better of her and she kicked open the door to one of the unexplored rooms creating a great deal of noise before Carandel calmed her down.
Outside one of the single rooms, a wreath lay on the floor and closer investigation of the doorway showed that it had been sealed up at some point. On entering the room the Party discovered an emaciated corpse lying on the bed, arms folded across it’s chest. The chest at the foot of the bed was open and the clothes inside had clearly been disturbed recently. At the bottom of the chest a Spellbook was discovered that Scaramon eagerly took. A leather binding strap around the book was loose and it gave the impression that another book had at one time been bound with it.
Carandel spent some time looking at the tracks outside the room but could only ascertain that both sets of tracks were in the corridor.
The Party continued down the sloping corridor to another landing where a solid stone door stood slightly ajar. The party found a long room beyond with 20 small, (dwarf?), sized beds. In the centre of the opposite wall was another door beyond which was a short corridor with five other doors leading off it, two doors on either side and one door opposite. A dwarvern rune was engraved on each of the side doors of which Scaramon managed to two, “Fire” and “Earth”. The end door had engraved on it a dwarvern rune that Scaramon believed symbolised the four elements.
The door at the end of the corridor have a rune of four diamond shapes together to make a larger diamond picture. This door was very strudy and in the small room beyond was the statue of a dwarvern warrior.
The Party descended again and arrived at a third landing. The large double doors on this landing stood open and a set of rail tracks came from the room and descended further down the corridor. Beyond these doors was a large room about 60’ across and 40’deep with sliding doors at the opposite end that opened up the room beyond. The rails pass through this room and through the sliding doors ond on the rails in this room stands a low rail car. There are 4 plinths, two on each side of the room, three have large objects on them covered with cloths, but on the forth the cloth lies on the floor. Carandel deduced from marks in the dust that the three humanoids took with them whatever was on the 4th plinth. The objects on the other plinths were examined and found to be moulds, one for a cylindrical object, (similar in height and with to the section of the column in the towers that is made of blue light). The objects made in the other two form two halves of a single object that has carrying handles and a central core similar in height and with to the object that can be made in the first mould.
The party passed through the huge sliding doorway into a long room 70’ by 50’, with two doors at the end. The room had been a workshop but no equipment remained only benches, and those had been recently hastily moved to the sides of the room. Drawn on the floor in the now vacant centre of the room was a pentagram, with a burnt out candle positioned at each of the points. There was an unusual warmth to the room and a faint warm breeze could be felt and heard. After a while the party noticed a thin line of white light that appeared in the pentagram which moved slowly as if in a breeze.
The other doors in this room were searched and found to be empty storerooms.