Gorlen Blackhammer - Journal Entry #191
Gorlen Blackhammer - Journal Entry #191
So, let me see [waving his hand for another round] I estimate it was about 6 months ago, I had gotten some information from a dwarven drifter over in Esagend, by the Lost Coast toward the Sea of Ice. We were getting holy one night in an ale house called The Dragon’s Breath. This Dwarf told me about a Dwarven Citadel, in the Ashrock peaks called Khul Dural and their mining operations, normal variety of gemstones, and common metals…but he also talked of something of greater rarity and that is Dwarven Blackrock, a very rare and highly prized planar metal. Now the dwarves sometimes refer to this as godsteel because it can be found in the realms of the dwarven gods. It can also be found in very rare veins across the prime material plane. This material is a mixture of metal and stone, allowing it to retain the best properties of both materials, with few of their associated penalties. Weapons forged out of Blackrock are highly adaptive to enchantments, bonuses to hit/damage, as well as penetrating the hardness of other materials. Because of the unusual nature, and rarity of this alloy, only the most advanced and highly skilled smiths can mold this alloy into a weapon, armor, or shield that is worthy of its namesake.
It took me a while, but I was able to locate Khul Dural, and what seemed equally long amount of time to gain an audience with the high court, but after a lot and I mean a lot of beer, I was able to negotiate a small quantity of dwarven blackrock to be delivered to me. The merchant houses of Khul Dural had previously been running caravans to various locations all over the world, and assured me they wanted to visit V’Ral, ‘the new arrival’ as they put it. The merchant houses decided that with my order, they would visit the city on the next caravan to introduce themselves and establish a trade route with V’ral. While there, I had learned of rumors about the region going to war, with the barbarian tribes raiding some humanoid lands and some of the merchant houses troubles behind the missing caravans, plus recently their scouts have learned of drow groups being spotted coming up from the underdeep.
Alas my shipment nor the caravan ever came, I reached out to Khul Dural, but the region has exploded in all-out war, and their mountain has been sealed. I did recruit me a batch of adventurers called the Iron Lion Company, to recon and sniff out those responsible sadly that was a month ago and I haven’t heard from the adventuring party since. What I do know, is the caravan was tracked to a sight where they were attacked, it was made to look like Barbarians attacked it, but the Barbarian tribes of the regions don’t take slaves. The adventuring party was able to track the cargo, and those who didn’t die in the attack were taken as slaves and dragged into the underdeep.
Once in the underdeep, the adventuring party continued their stealth/recon mission and tracked the drow to a renegade drow House Deduis. Apparently, in the last decade or so the House of Deduis was ejected from the drow city of Undraeth and has been plotting their revenge since. It wasn’t until recently they have gotten more aggressive, the House of Deduis, very recently, the drow stumbled across an ancient ziggurat in the underdeep radiating necromantic energy. After exploring the perimeter, the drow house was able to conclude the Ziggurat belonged to that of a lich with considerable power. The drow scouting party learned of this information and reported the information back to their matron Yazral Deduis. Together the House of Deduis devised a plan to assault the lich’s ziggurat and loot it of it treasures and magic, which they will give them the power to finally use against the drow city of Undraeth.
At this point, I had lost contact with the adventuring party. I assume they had gotten spotted by the Drow, something worse, or captured. So, I closed my shop, I knew their last location, and though I’m an old gnome, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. I was interested in what magics this ziggurat held anyway and needed to put eyes on it at some point. Unfortunately, I was going to have to leave the comfort of my well stocked wine cellar and get back to field work. This was roughly two weeks ago, were I finally spotted this ‘plan’ hatched by the House of Deduis. This plan wasn’t really thought threw, and the matron Yazral really didn’t send his brightest, but nonetheless a small force of drow stealthed in to the ziggurat and breached the upper floors. Then they reached the roof when they discovered a great pile of bones and skulls that looked very much like a small castle. Within this small castle they found arcane writings and runes written everywhere walls, floors, ceiling. When the drow began to examine the runes, the entire bone structure suddenly moved.
One of the drows must have touched, pushed, turned, or pulled the wrong rune, because the bone castle had come to life. While I was very well cloaked, I had to get closer to the action to get a better look at what they were doing. As I was approaching, I started to recognize some of the necromantic runes on the bone castle, and quickly realized this wasn’t a bone castle at all but a necroship, a flying vessel constructed from the bones of the innocent and powered by necromantic runes. That’s when I started to scan around the upper floor and realized these knuckle heads are going to try and fly this ziggurat out of the lich’s cavern probably back to their House to better study it. Unfortunately, I realized the ones trying to fly the ship were the ones standing closest to the life chamber, probably only understanding a fraction of the runes around them. It didn’t take a high arcana check to see that’s the room that pulls lifeforce from unwilling participants to power the ship.…well needless to say, I quickly moved my feet back down to the ground as I could only see this going badly. As predicted, it didn’t take long for things to go horribly wrong, the large necroship began to fly on its own accord not finding its lich master from which to take its commands, it began draining all the ‘alive’ drow on the ship as a power source and flying around the cavern erratically. The ship began blasting its way thru stalactites, and stalagmites, running into walls, and finally crashing into the cavern floor. All of the drow on the ship had died from being drained or weakened to the point they were killed upon the crash.
<Sigh> after watching this display of foolishness, Gorlen mumbles…. I’m still no closer to finding this missing adventuring party, or my missing caravan/shipment. I did learn these drow are from the House of Deduis, and learned of the existing drow city Undraeth. After a few days of spying around the House of Deduis, Gorlen begins take down a few notes in his journal, “well haven’t discovered what happen to the caravan or my adventuring party, but I did successfully infiltrate the renegade house first to see what I can learn. Discovering several drow priestess were planning on moving against Yazral so they could use what they learn from the necroship in the name of the Great Spider Mother, obviously not knowing the ship had been destroyed.” Gorlen continues… “ This drove Yazral mad unleashing a bloody coup against his house, and the Deduis drow priestesses.”
Gorlen looks up and thinks to himself, “I have seen all there is to see at what’s left of the House of Deduis”. Gorlen begins to make his way back to the wreckage, only to find a group of mineral-hunting svirfneblin from Adalun came across the necroship crash site. They must have been nearby and heard the noise generated from the crash. From the number of them, they had to have immediately called in reinforcements when they spotted the wreckage. The deep gnomes immediately requested help from Adalun to secure the site, and to help retrieve the large, wrecked structure. An entire large force from Adalun was quickly hard at work by the time Gorlen had gotten back to the site.
Gorlen, takes a sip of his beer, thinking about his next steps… “I would like to check out Adalun, but I doubt they would have my missing shipment. I’m guessing I need to scout out Undraeth, maybe check out the slave market see if I can spot any caravan guards that survived, or the missing adventuring party”
Gorlen mumbles… “This is going to take longer than I had hoped.”