As morning broke in Davinport, Targ found himself still outside the house of the man he believed to be the killer. He wanted to catch the suspect in the act, believing it’s safer to face a predator as a larger member of the pack. Feeling confident that the man was still asleep, Targ returned to his camp site on the outskirts of town. He retrieved his training pole then went to the watchmen barracks for more info on the suspect. Not long after, a guard burst in shouting they had found the killer. Targ followed the captain and found himself back at the house he so recently left. There was a large crowd gathered as murmurs of the scruffy, scarred man taking a young woman into his house began to circulate. A lieutenant and another guard waited outside the home. They informed the captain of the suspect’s threat to kill his hostage if the guard made any attempt to enter.
The Captain spoke briefly with Targ, and asked if he was willing to root the murderer out while he dispersed the crowd. As he did so, Targ approached the door and tentatively knocked. He received no reply. “Are you in there?” He shouted through the door. Still no reply. “You don’t stand a chance, you’re completely surrounded,” he bellowed. He was again met with silence. He tried the door, finding it locked. He shouldered it a few times, but it held solid. He shouted to the captain, who ordered a few of his men to get the ram. Quickly they returned, and with one well placed slam, the door fell in. Targ entered. The house looked the same as it did the last time he was there except that the rug had been pulled back revealing a trap door. Having some trouble with the door, Targ began stomping on it until he heard a loud snap and tried again. Having broken the latch, the door opened easily and with it came the sickening smell of rotten flesh.
Disregarding the stench, Targ slid down the ladder. As he turned around, he noticed the small, blood stained room was filled with numerous torture devices. At the far end of it there was a small altar, where, it would seem is where the monster had murdered all his victims. Between Targ and the altar stood the man, holding the young woman in one arm and a large dagger in his free hand. It was large for a dagger, and had a wicked curve to it. Both sides of the blade looked razor sharp, and were lined with jagged serrations. The twisted madman looked Targ in the eyes and spoke, hiding behind his hostage. “Ylang the Ichor Demon from the 17th coil of the abyss is always watching me. The blade I found at the water’s edge was cursed by him, and try as I might I can never relinquish it. The blade screams… It screams…” Targ was visibly uneasy. He watched in horror as the man suddenly drew the blade along the woman’s throat, opening it wide. He leapt at Targ, howling wildly. He issued a quick slash that Targ leaned to avoid. He counterattacked with his quarterstaff, striking a sound blow. The man retaliated with a wild backhand slash which caught Targ off guard. The blade bit into his temple just above the ear, shearing the flesh of his face all the way down to his upper lip. Targ howled in pain and smashed his opponent in the top of his exposed head. He heard the crack of bone, and the killer slumped.
As he fell, his hand opened,and the blade he held skittered across the floor, coming to rest by the evil blood-stained altar.
With the fight finished and the Davinport Slasher dead, Targ spoke with the captain before being escorted to the temple of Pelor for healing. When the priests cast their healing spells however, they had no effect on his injuries. Targ was certain there was some ill magic in the killer’s dagger. Being orc-blooded, Targ decided that a scar would be a good memento for his efforts and asked to get stitches. The priests took him to a chirurgeon, who was kind enough to offer his services..
Meanwhile in Issyc City, Solvi and Aldo awoke and began to discuss how to find passage to the Underdark. Solvi wanted to ask the dwarves who already dwell in subterranean kingdoms for information about any run-ins that they might’ve had, while Aldo argued that the sages in Gresden City might have some information on the subject. Both believing that their best option was to get back to Davinport, they left on their ponies and headed east along the King’s Road.
As the Border Mountains grew on the horizon the two saw a solitary figure headed toward them. It wore a dark robe and leaned heavily on his staff. As they passed by the stranger, they could see he was clutching his midsection. With a strained and trembling voice the traveler said, “I require healing…” and collapsed. The companions leapt off their ponies and Solvi cracked his knuckles. He set to work healing the stranger. He moved the man’s arm to get a better look at the wound. It was a gaping circular hole, through which his entrails were visibly hanging. Solvi petitioned his god for healing magic, and laid hands on the stranger. His cowl had fallen back, revealing his filthy face. It was familiar to both Aldo and Solvi, but they could not place from where. The healing done, the two stepped back and waited. A few moments passed before the man’s eyes fluttered open. “Where am I?” he gasped. “The King’s Road,” Aldo replied, “You were badly injured, but we healed you.” The man placed his hand where his wound should have been, muttering something about blasted paladins always getting in the way. “What happened?” asked Aldo. “I had a run in with a halfling to the south,” the man said, rather vaguely. “Why were you fighting?” Aldo pressed. “If I provide any further details, my master would be rather… displeased… with me,” he replied. “In any case, I suppose I am in debt to you. My name is Andrinor, and I thank you for sparing my life.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew a small, smooth, gray stone. On it was inscribed a curious symbol, matching one that decorated each end of the man’s staff. He handed it to Solvi. “It is a sending stone,” he explained. “Use it to contact me when my services are required. I am powerful in the arts, and my specialty is necromancy.” Aldo translated this to Solvi, who was still struggling to learn the common tongue. “Actually,” Aldo mentioned, “There is one thing you may be able to help us with now.” “Name it,” spoke Andrinor. “We seek passage to the underdark. Do you know the way?” “Why in the world would you ever want to go there?” Andrinor asked, dryly. “We have our reasons,” Aldo replied. “I do know the way,” said the necromancer. “My master dwells there. And if it is your wish to waste my considerable talents by telling you the way, I shall.” Aldo thought for a moment, and changed his mind. He couldn’t be sure from looks alone, but this man seemed formidable, and Aldo felt his services might be of more use at another time. Solvi took the stone, and they bid the strange fellow farewell.
The two continued to eastward through the mountain pass to Gresden City. Arriving very late at night, they took a rest at the Copper Penny Inn and Tavern. In the morning Aldo and Solvi headed to the Gresden City Library to ask the sages about the underdark. The sage they spoke to dismissed the underdark as a mere rumor. He completely denied it’s existence. As Aldo started out the door however, he heard “Wait.” The sage beckoned him over and pulled him into a back room. Inside, he lit a candle and spoke very softly. “The underdark does not exist, at least not officially. It is treated as a rumor to those that have even heard of it, which are few. I take a great risk in telling you this, but I think it is real. The rulers of the ”/campaign/corra/wikis/four-kingdoms" class=“wiki-page-link”>Four Kingdoms have taken great strides to eradicate any and all knowledge of the underdark, and they have done so quite efficiently. Were knowledge not my profession, I admit I would be as ignorant as the next man. But I must warn you against seeking this knowledge. People that do tend to… disappear." Aldo took all of this in before asking, “There must be a way. Are there any books or tomes on the subject?” The sage thought a moment. “There was one book. It was written by a gnome named ”/campaigns/corra/characters/skorgar" class=“wiki-content-link”>Skorgar Ravenackle. It is called The UNDERlying DARK secret, but I haven’t seen a copy in twenty years. A few decades back, about 3 weeks after it’s publication, all known copies of the book were gathered up by the kingdoms of Issyc and Drodund, and were burned. Since then, possessing the book, reading the book, and even talking about the book will get you thrown in the dungeon. Like I said, I take great risk in telling you all this, but I could not let you wander all around town asking about it. Just be glad you came here. Were you to ask around in Issyc or Drodund, you surely would never see the light of day again." The man got up and opened the door. Solvi and Aldo got up and thanked the man. “There is no such thing,” he said loudly. “Anything you might have heard is surely just a rumor, and I will not have you spreading lies to our customers!” “My many apologies,” Aldo replied, understanding what the sage was doing. He and Solvi left the building.
With nothing else to learn at the library, the two headed back south to Davinport. They ran into Targ at his campsite near Davinport. Noticing his scar, Solvi asked in his usual gunnish accented orc, “Hey Ugly, what happened to your face?” After filling them in on the details of the past few days since parting ways, Targ rejoined the group and headed into town.
As the three entered Davinport, a town guard approached them and asked for Targ’s assistance in cleaning up the grisly mess in the murderer’s torture chamber. Targ volunteered the three of them, but only Aldo and Targ had the stomach to clean up the torture room. Aldo, having been warned by Targ not to touch the large dagger, managed to slip and tie some rope around the cursed thing and took it, the torture devices, and Solvi with him to the watch captain. He repeated Targ’s warning about the dagger being cursed. Targ was left to bring up the swollen putrid corpses.
They rendezvoused at the Last Ditch Attempt Saloon to discuss other matters before splitting up again. Solvi and Targ went to shipyard to check on “Njord’s Blessing”, only to discover a problem. They were informed by a carpenter at the drydock that they ship had been ready for two days, and they just needed the captain of the vessel to show his deed before they could move it back to the harbor. This was concerning. Their current vessel was attained from Ryelle Empire Ryellan smugglers after a brief skirmish. They found no deed when they first searched the vessel, and now worried that it may have been on the captain when they kicked him into the surf. Solvi showed the man some of figures as quartermaster, and they were allowed to board. Solvi tore the captain’s quarters apart looking for the deed. He finally found a second hidden compartment in the captain’s desk. Inside was the deed. Solvi breathed a sigh of relief and returned to Targ. “I found it!” he said in orc to Targ, handing him the deed. Targ looked it over. “We still have a problem.” “What now?” asked Solvi. Not being able to read common yet, he did not see the line at the near top of the page; The line that said, Vessel Name: IRN Wrasse…
Aldo spoke to Barley Breath, inquiring about ‘The UNDERlying DARKsecret’. Barley Breath told Aldo that Slinker might’ve owned that book, and Barley Breath believed that Slinker might’ve even been to the underdark. Slinker seemed to brag about it enough, anyway. So, with that knowledge, Aldo looked for Slinker in the markets. Solvi ran into Aldo just before Slinker arrived and told him about the deed problem. Slinker told Aldo that he had owned thebook, but only for a brief time before he sold it. He claimed to not have read it at all. But he said he had been to the underdark and stated that the rulers of the Four Kingdoms used the underdark as a political prison. He gave them a brief rundown of the history surrounding Muogamarrah as a land of exile. He wouldn’t say how to get to the underdark,and in fact seemed to dance around the subject. When attempts to gain more information failed, Aldo and Solvi returned to the Last Ditch Attempt Saloon.
Targ, Sturla, and Willem (a young man interested in signing on as a part of the crew), were well into their third, fifth, and second flagons respectively when Aldo and Solvi arrived. They spent all night drinking, and loudly recounted tales of their heroics. In the morning, Aldo went to the captain of the watch, to tell him about their deed problems. Having been so helpful to the town and the port authority, the captain pulled some strings, and helped them out by getting them a new deed with the right information on it.
On the day of departure, bad weather and gale force winds forced all harbor traffic to a standstill. Aldo decided to wait one day, which gave him time to scour his private library for info on the underdark. His only discovery of the day was a hollow book with a bronze ring hidden inside. Believed to be magical he stuck it in his pocket and continued his futile search.
The next day, they left. They stopped at the lighthouse, where Alastair had setup his shop. Aldo dropped off the ring for him to identify, and told him the entertaining results of the love potion he asked them to test. They had tested on Targ which surprised him, considering Alastair was uncertain of the side effects. “It only worked on one woman?” Alastair sighed with disappointment, “Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.” With that, they set sail to Walgrim’s Cliffs. Aldo’s navigation was slightly off course, and they hit the back side of Ket, and had to travel fifty leagues more to get them to Nïmdum. They got to there near sundown, and Solvi quickly looked around for a set of dwarven armor better suited for him than his current. Aldo ran out to find a library, only to learn that the only one is in Kerallasrath.
They spent the night on the vessel, to save some gold. In the morning, Aldo and Solvi rented donkeys, and with Targ and Tusk in tow, headed to Kerallasrath. Upon arrival, Aldo was denied entrance momentarily until he stated his intention to inform Norvi‘s family of his passing. Many moments passed until they were allowed to pass the outer gate. They walked down a grand hall, their path flanked by mighty statues of dwraven champions, toward another gate. Passing through this gate they found themselves awestruck as they passed by houses hewn from the stone, with no brick and no mortar. The walls and roofs of the buildings were one flowing piece of stone. Aldo had never seen it’s like. His neck was craned at the massive braziers that hung suspended from the ceiling of the cavern, illuminating the city. Targ was impressed at how the dwarves could create an entire city so at one with nature. Solvi was largely unimpressed. Though he could tell the craftsmanship was of great quality, this city did nothing to rival the great seat of the glacier dwarves in Gunnbjorn.
They followed the directions they were given and eventually arrived at a standard home of the area. Announcing themselves, they were greeted by an old dwarf, which Aldo could picture Norvi looking like if he had lived longer. With solemn respect, Aldo informed him of Norvi’s passing. They were allowed to enter the house, and the dwarf introduced himself and his wife as Falrak and Norgret Rakaz. Falrak asked if Aldo had anything personal of Norvi’s. Aldo gave him Norvi’s warhammer. Falrak placed it on the mantle and invited them to spend the rest of the night celebrating Norvi’s life. Stiff drinks and slightly embellished tales of Norvi’s valor were shared until everybody passed out drunk in the late night hours.
Will the party find the information they seek among the dwarves of Walgrim’s Cliffs? Or will the impending hangover from a night of dwarven revelry deter them from their goal? Find out next time!