Haunted Dwarven Ruins
Ras 26, 12883
We arrived through area A, where the earth had caved in from beneath us, dropping our party 80 feet and dumping heavy earth
upon our heads. While exploring here we discovered two items of interest. First, a section of ruinous wall on which there was a dwarvish glyph
of unknown origin. The other item was a statue of an enraged dwarven warrior whose hands were raised over his head as if holding a rock to
be brought down on some unseen enemies head. We determined that the statue had once been a living dwarf, turned to stone, and in good
condition except that sometime after his being turned to stone one of his feet had been broken off at the shin.
Traveling to the edge of the lava flow (area C) we spotted the stone ledge which led into the dwarven
stronghold. Using spider climb, walking on the air, or [Therod's use of his bow for] teleportation, we all made it to the ledge. From there we could
see the origin of the lava flow, which bubbled up from a small cavern to the southwest, and then flowed north by north east past us. It was
obvious that there were crafted stone arches of ancient design that supported the tunnel which the lava flowed through. Looking east we could
also see that the lava was not cutting a new passage through the native earth. The earthquake had altered its course. The old passage (area
D) was also visible; magma crusted and still cooled within.
The passage before us was 5 feet tall and about 10 feet wide. We carefully traveled down it (area 1)
until we came to the "T" intersection. The passage here was taller than the entrance way, capable of accommodating a creature some 12 feet in
height. Here we became aware of the sound of steel striking steel at regular interval. The sound came from the right, and so we explored thence.
The door to area 2 was closed the first time we passed it. Turning left we looked down a long hallway
with three sets of stairs. On the landings were heavy stone doors on the left and right. No handle or purchase was available to open any of the
doors we passed. Each door bore a dwarven glyph upon it. When we arrived at the door to area 10 we discovered that it was partially
open. Within we could see the top half of a dwarven skeleton, its bottom half entirely missing and its hips crushed. By his position it appeared he
had been fleeing something when cut down. Pushing the door the rest of the way open, to the sound of screeching metal and tumbling bones, we
then entered the chamber. The floor was littered with the skeletons of the dead. Most were dressed in armor, though there were not as many
weapons present as we would have thought to have found for so many armored men. Many of them were missing large sections of their
skeletons; arms, legs, rib cavities, all mysteriously absent. There were two particular areas of bodies, one group nearer the exit to the hall and
the other which had apparently made their final stand at the top of the stairway to the east. The stairs, which led down, were lined with red
stone and the door which they went to was nearly twenty feet tall with inlaid red stone across its facing like the ribs of a giant. At the top of the
stairway we noted a gold glyph set into the stone of the floor whose symbol matched that on the outside of the chambers entrance.
We could still hear the sound of steel striking steel at regular intervals, a sound which seemed to come from
someplace at the end of the hallway without. Returning to the hall we traveled to its end (area 11). Here there was a large set of double
doors. On each doors face was a large hammer, some 6 feet tall, of polished silver and depicted such that the handle pointed to the ceiling.
Cautiously entering into area 12 we encountered the source of sound that we had been listening to,
the sound of a hammer striking steel. There, at an anvil to our right, near to a cooling well, was a spectral dwarf. In life he had been of
prodigious age; his head mostly bald and his brow deeply furrowed as he concentrated on his task, though his build was great and his strength
obvious. A silvery crown of hair half rung his head and joined with his equally silvered beard. Our presence was entirely ignored, even as Tadhg
cleared his throat as though to attract the ghostly smithy's attention. Looking about the room we observed to our left a curving shelf on which
a multitude of armor bits hung from and laid upon. Each piece was exceedingly well made, cunningly crafted, highly stylized, and gleamed as
though it had just been scrubbed clean and polished bright. Across from where we stood at the entrance was a large forge in which a hot fire
burned from. Though the smith was ghostly, the fire was quite real. Just to the right of the flames, crumpled where the floor met the wall, was
the skeleton of a dwarven warrior.
We watched as the smith ceased his hammering and set aside his hammer. Striding to the forge he donned gloves
and with an ethereal pair of steel pincers he reached into the flames and withdrew a sheet of metal sized to serve as a dwarves shin guard.
Returning to the anvil he began to shape the metal when outside the chamber we heard the sound of yelling and a great crash. Therod, who stood
without heard the sound of stone falling down the stairs, though no stone was seen to do so. As the battle cries grew louder we noticed the smith
had stopped his hammering to turn to face us. His demeanor had become sad, but then it firmed with resolve when he was struck back against
the anvil by some unseen force. The hammer fell from his hand, and he slowly faded away.
Then suddenly the flames of the forge flared high, spilling without, the room quickly became frostily cold, and
there materialized a flaming warrior of dwarven stature in red steel full plate. He was facing away from us as he stood over the skeleton against
the wall, then turning to us we saw his face to be horribly burnt, aflame, and his mouth in a hideous smile. He strode towards us as we backed
away and drew our weapons. But with each step he shed his mass into ash that was blown away by an unfelt wind until there was nothing there.
The battle cries faded from the hall and as we exited the chamber (area 12) we were surprised as the
hammer striking steel sound resumed and there before us was the smithy, working on the same piece had had been handling when we first
After determining the hammer decorated double doors in area 11 to be locked from within, we traveled
back up the stairway to area 10. Tadhg again examined the door while Therod kept watch. We heard a sighing pass through the room
which set us alert - fearing the skeletons on the floor would become animate. When they did not, Tadhg returned to trying to open the door at
the bottom of the stairs. Shortly afterward, Therod shouted warning and his arrow struck near the top of the doors where we saw inky black
tendrils exploring from where the door met the ceiling. They silently spread out, searching the ceiling and the upper crack where the two great
doors came together. We watched then as spectral doors opened away from us, though the corporeal ones remained closed, preventing us from
seeing beyond to what the spectral ones greeted. Again the room seemed alive with breathing for a moment. We determined to leave and see
if any of the other doors would open.
Unable to open any of the other doors in the hallway we returned to the top landing, heading towards our
entrance, when we noticed that the doorway to area 2 had mysteriously opened up of its own accord. Exploring within we noted the fine
mural that was carven into the walls of the room. It depicted tall dwarven battlements from which hung four shields, each bearing a different
coat of arms. At the top of the battlements and before them on the ground stood numerous dwarven warriors, arranged as though they posed
for the sculptor to render them into the wall.
A passage departed to the northeast and the rubble of two large doors which once blocked the way lay upon the
floor about ten feet along the way. Beyond the rubble was a wide stairway that descended down into a vast throne room (area 3).
Large pillars with scrolled glyphs winding their way from bottom to top held up the tall ceiling of the chamber. At right was a basin of water into
which poured two streams of water, each originating from somber dwarven faces that were carved into the wall. To the left, at the end of the
great hall was a raised, two-staired, dias on which sat a spartan iron throne. Upon entering the room, Tadhg began to catch glimpses of a great
ghostly battle which raged about him. Ringing the dias were a group of warriors who stood fast while the rest of the room was engulfed in fighting
between the dwarves and a horde of ghoulish dwarves whose bodies burned with an unnatural fire. In the center of the battle, cleaving its way
to the defenders at the throne, was the same flaming armored champion of evil we had seen earlier in the smithy. The visions lasted but a
moment. A brief examination of the throne, searching for secret passages, revealed none of the sort.
Brome alerted us to the sound of steady, heavy, and slow footsteps outside and coming from the upper hallway.
Ending our search of the throne room we returned to area 2 and listened as the sound of the steps approached from the western
half of the hallway outside. Brome looked without and observed a creature like the golem we once fought before, walking down the hallway.
This construct was different than that from our past though. It was taller, being more than twice as tall as Therod, and seemed to have been
crafted entirely from green gems. We hid in the room (area 2) and listened as it passed by and turned to descend down the hallway of
We followed it at a distance, watching the construct as it seemed to patrol the passage, pausing in area 11
to examine the doors decorated with hammers, entering into the smithy (area 12), returning to examine the hammer doors once again
and then turning to come back up the stairs. Traveling away from the creature we went in the direction it had first appeared from. We came upon
another set of double doors at the right and then, at left, a passage which had been caved in (area 16). At the end of the hallway (area
17) we found a set of double doors which had been viciously battered down and into rubble. Climbing over the rubble we found ourselves
at the top of a stairway that descended down into a vast chamber housing four large buildings. Twenty foot wide streets intersected at the middle
of the four buildings and also circuited the great perimeter of the room (area 18).
Traveling counterclockwise, we discovered fountains at each of the remaining corners of the room. We did not
tarry long at each for we could hear the sound of the gem golem ponderously moving into the great chamber as well. The first fountain was that
of three Xorn creatures, their mouths open and upturned to the ceiling, water flowing out of their jaws and into the pool. The second was a group
of oddly disproportionate childlike beings, their heads too large for their skinny bodies, their eyes large and lidless. The last was a dwarven man
standing on a short pedestal from which he blew onto a lengthy and curved horn; the water poured from the mouth of the instrument and into the
pool below. At the center of the room we came upon a fourth fountain. In it's large basin, showered upon by the fountains waters, were arranged
twelve dwarven statues. Each statue was that of a warrior who stood ready to do battle, blades barred and determination in their eyes. In groups
of three the warriors wore coats of arms which matched those seen above the entrances to each of the four tall buildings. In the center of the
warriors circle rose a pillar twenty feel tall, on which a broad platter rested. Standing in the middle of the platter could be seen a dwarven king, or perhaps
a god, that stood tall and looked down on the chamber. About the dwarf-king statue were four crystal blocks with lever-like handles jutting out.