The True Dreamers
Hut (portal): Corik awakens. He has several fully and freshly healed wounds. He is disoriented and lying amidst the rubble of a ruined stone hut. The building’s collapse was recent and the dust has not completely settled. He sees the remains of a magical portal behind him as the radiance of the runes flickers and dies. He is alone. His eyes begin to adjust and he sees light filtering through a gap in the fallen wall nearby. He realizes he has only basic armor and a single melee weapon; on him belt is a hammer and a coil of rope, and a belt pouch containing three iron spikes.
Exit: Corik chooses to crawl out and exit the hut. He leaves the ruined hut and a small group of simple travelers are gatHimed as if waiting for him.
Their leader, a grizzled cleric speaks up.
“Are you okay? We heard the roof collapse. You look alright. We were supposed to meet our guide through the mountain here about. Are you him? We found the door. We were returning to our homes from having visited the old shrines and ruins of Mesthelome. We are pilgrims and curiosity seekers not warriors.”
Help or not: Corik chooses to help them. He tells him that he was born to lead such expeditions and is trained to do so.
“Thank you. My name is Altham I brought the pilgrims here and I appreciate your assistance.” The cleric says.
Stone Door: They take him to the large stone door leading into the mountain. Two of them bear light stones; stones that illuminate a large area. He looks them over as they traveled here. Of the fourteen pilgrims only one seems like he’d hold his own in a fight. An older cleric who was the one who spoke to him and seemed to be leading them. He has deferred to Corik since he agreed to help them. One by one they file through the door way.
Follow or not: Corik chooses to follow.
Entrance Hall: He enters a large chamber with stairs leading up to a archway. Four large pillars, strategically placed hold the roof up. There is a body lying halfway up the stairs. He seems to have been killed by large chopping weapons within the last several days. He is cold and the blood dried but no animals have been at him.
Altham sighs, “that was our guide on the first half of the journey through the mountain. He was supposed to meet us at the stone hut where you were. I’d like to stop and build him a cairn at least, perhaps outside?”
Corik notes that it was almost evening when they first found him.
Bury the dwarf or not: Corik chooses to bury the Dwarf.
Corik and several of the pilgrims lift the body of the dwarf they tell him was called Burress Grinkle. They take him outside. Not far from the entrance he finds a shallow depression on a large flat rock. He and the pilgrims gather stones and pile them on the deceased dwarf until he is completely covered.
Altham holds up his hands and the pilgrims go quiet.
“Brothers and sisters. Burress guided us well through Mulhandro, Mountain of sadness. because of his sacrifice we have located the Jewel of Tharnasses last king of Mesthelome. Once more it will protect us from disease and famine thanks to the efforts of Burress. We thank him and wish him a speedy and safe journey through the afterlife. As is his custom, I will give up my vow of temperance and drink to his honor at the next tavern we pass. There are several ‘here heres’ and then they bow their heads and pray silently. Altham looks up, makes a sign with his hand passing over his arm and moving heavenward and says, it is done”
Corik and the pilgrims return to the Entrance hall. They climb the stairs and enter a waystation.
Way station: beyond the entrance hall is a way station. And crumbs and leavings indicate food was once stockpiled here in a side room to the left. Corik sees outlines on the ground where much of it seems to have been taken away, recently. A large keg of ale sits recently open in the middle of the table just over a dozen glasses are on the table with the cask. The room to the right has rows and rows of bunk beds and a steel door with an iron bar.
Examine the Ale: Corik sniffs the ale and sees that there is black diced plant matter floating in it. He carefully teases one out of the cask.
Altham gasps, “Beladonna. If we had drunk we’d have joined Burress in the afterlife.”
Sleep for the night in the bared room: Corik decides that the room to the right is the safest place to sleep. Everyone enters and he closes and bars the door. Altham says a short prayer and suggest they all get to sleep, which most seem to right away.
Set up watches: Corik suggests watches be set. Only he and Altham volunteer. During Corik’s watch he sees a thin knife slip through the door frame and slide the bar slowly upward. As the door slides inward a thick, callused grey hand reaches around the door and grasps the bar. Corik takes this opportunity to grab the hand. The bar clatters to the floor waking everyone. He pulls the intruder into the room and kicks the door shot. Altham looks out throught he slot and says, he is alone. Corik and the Duergar struggle. He breaks free but with nowhere to run, he turns again and attacks viciously. Corik is left with no choice but fight for his life. A battle ensues, he is victorious and the Duergar lies dead. Searching him Corik finds he is wearing leathers and carrying a long knife, nothing more. He seems to be a scout. Corik continue the watch vigilantly and nothing else happens. All awaken the next morning.
Into the mountain: Corik and the pilgrims eat a hasty meal and continue on down the nearly endless hall. Deep into the mountain. After walking half the day he sees a large crack to the left leading to a natural chamber. Dust on the floor shows many heavy booted tracks leading into and out of the crack. At some point the wall partially collapsed and opened this feature into more natural caves. Large rubble lies strewn about.
Seal the hole: Corik uses the largest boulders, and his hammer and one steel spike to seal the crack. He appraises his work satisfied. It will take hours if not days for anyone to clear the hole. He continues on.
The Chasm: In the late afternoon he arrives at a chasm. A rope bridge once spanned it but has been cut away. Large stone blocks on either side mark where the bridge was once attached. He sees a narrow ledge below that leads somewhere but likely not across. There seems to be better purchase on the far rock face.
Use the rope to get across: Corik tries to use the rope. He finds that the rope is a little longer than the chasm. It is long enough to span the gap if it was spiked on both ends or lengthened in some way
Use the rope to climb down: Corik spikes the rope and safely climbs down. He gets to the other side at the bottom. While the purchase is much better here he does not have the rope to help him climb up.
Climb up the other side: He climbs up the other side and is now able to be thrown the rope to spike it to this side. All pilgrims safely cross. But he has to leave the rope, even though he is able to retrieve one of the spikes. He has no used up two spikes and the rope.
Dwarf attack (front only not weakened from poison. 7+ pilgrims remain): As they arrive on the other side Corik sees a small patrol of four Duergar in front of him. The Duergar make to attack.
Hand the Hammer to the cleric and use your weapon: Corik and the cleric fight against the four and are able to overcome them with only a minor wounds. * The other side of the mountain:* Corik and the pilgrims finally reach the far end of the mountain. He finds an empty way station similar to the one he first say but cleaned out. The beds have been removed and the steel door has been taken. He continues on into the exit chamber through the pillars and down the steps to the far door. He passes through the stone door and breathes in the fresh air on the other side of the mountain. Sadly he hears the sounds of more Duergar charging down the hall still a few hundred feet from the group.
Close and spike the door: The door holds long enough for everyone to escape. The pilgrims take their leave of Corik, thanking him and promising a great feast if he should ever come to their homes. Corik falls unconscious moments after saying his goodbyes.
“I am Selennelor and I mean you no harm. Though I bear a spirit form it was by choice. When the curse took me I choose to continue to serve and my god, Welexian Svratorean, and test both the mettle of those who fall to night walkers and their good intentions.
You have completed all aspects of the test. You did so it bravely, with the service of others in mind and quite distinctly. The most reward I can give is offered you. You may ask for one magical item and you may ask me ten questions I will answer as best I am able. Also the barrier that surrounds this tower will now allow you to pass. Thus you will have protection whenever you pass this way from the night walkers. When we are done here, I will send you, rested and healed to the base of the tower. When you arrive it will be morning and your friends will have completed their trials.”
Corik holds off on asking for a magic item and decides to do the questions first.
“Certainly, let us start,” Selennelor says.
Corik begins asking his questions.
“What was stalking my companion Darkel”, Corik asks?
Selennelor beams, “Xtrasin The demon. A creature who will not stop until it has him. Normally demons do not grant dark pacts but this one is very old and has connections within in the circles of the devils. It is a very dangerous and wily foe who has already done great damage to the interests and culture of the Fey in other realms.”
“Where are the leaders of the Siege against LongShadow?”
Selennelor smiles and continues, “The leaders, save the Orc General who leads the forces directly are and will be in the fallen temple to the East, raising undead for the fight.”
“Who is responsible for raising the undead?”
Selennelor notes, “You are very direct I see. It is a Dark Elf Priest who uses an alter and a necrotic, rune-encrusted stone of great power to raised undead of many kinds.”
“Since you seem to have spoken to Darkel, what did he ask you?”
Selennelor raises an eyebrow, “he asked who was really behind the attacks against LongShadow.
I should also warn you about him. He passed his test, a caster’s test, with no distinction whatsoever. Were I a psion I’d be tempted to discern directly his intent. To see if he saved the handful of townsfolk he did only because he himself was at risk. His passing was a near thing and he bears watching. Consider that last advice and not an answer to any question you posed.”
“Where are the other True Dreamers of this universe?”
Selennelor, looks again at Corik and seems to stare through him, into him. “I discern that you are Corik and not. Perhaps it is because I am dual-natured as well. True Dreamers then. Besides your friends I am told by the one I serve that there are two like you in the outer planes spelljamming with the powers of the dreamweave and one held in nearby space within a dimensional trap.”
Corik seems to decide he might not be able to trust Darkel and askes, “What did you answer Darkel?”
Selennelor, responds. “He learned it was a young Gauth who aspires to grow in stature and power with the conquest of LongShadow. He hides at the fallen temple in the East behind a large rock.”
Concerned Corik asks, “When will the attack on LongShadow come then?”
Selennelor, continues. “One week from this day LongShadow will be attacked by all of the remaining Orcs and undead. Most of the leaders will continue to be away from the battlefield itself raising undead during the attack.”
Determined Corik asks, “what is our best options for defeating the Seige?”
Selennelor, smiles. “Continue on to SilverSlag and convince the dwarves to fight by your side. Speak to the Goblins on your return and they will aid you as well as scouts and saboteurs. The Goblins will require recognition by the LongShadow council to agree to help. Go and destroy the leaders during the fight when they will be focused on their tasks and the siege may be broken. And the Nightwalkers in this region defeated.”
Remembering his bookish friends Corik asks, “where is the 3rd missing ritual book that the preservers guild of LongShadow seeks?”
Selennelor, nods. “This book is hidden in a cache under the alter in the fallen temple to the East.”
With his principal questions answered and one remaining Corik asks for himself. “If you were to give me one magic item of your choice what would it be?”
Selennelor, grins. “You are a most wise Dwarf Corik. I have within my hoard two artifacts that would suit you. The Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and the Invulnerable Coat of Arn. With your possible alliance with the Goblins the axe seems a poor choice as it has enmity with all Goblin kind. The armor however would suit you well and keep you strong in the battles ahead.”
Selennelor, finishes. “The questions are now complete. You must choose your magic item or accept what I offer you.”
Corik responds, “I will trust what you give me.”
The spirit makes a gesture with his hand and Corik is wearing the Invulnerable Coat of Arn. He makes another and Corik vanishes.