I am still not sure how we managed it, but we have come through our adventure largely unscathed. The sacred vessel has been retrieved and delivered to its place of honour in our village, our fallen paladin comrade, Intan, has been resurrected, and we are sitting in a cosy inn swilling ale, dwarven treasure adorning our fingers, ears and necks.
I scored my arm with my dagger to prove I was not dreaming it.
The caverns underneath the island proved to house the sarcophagus of Ukhammet, the dwarven architect of those tunnels, and her treasure. The doors to the treasure chambers were heavily warded, one knocking me temporarily into blackness, but the mad cleric Flowing Mane proved to have a key, which ultimately gained us access into one of the rooms.
(I shall confess at this point that the mad cleric did not survive the blow I dealt him, but I swear I did not hit him that hard…)
The dwarven guardians
Inside the chamber an astonishing sight met us. Fourteen rotting corpses littered the floor. The lone living occupant of the room was a dwarf wielding an axe, standing before a shimmering veil of light. He did not appear overly aggressive, and uttered no tongue we could understand, but made it very clear we would be unwise to get too close.
Alix then produced a most useful spell. It allowed her to understand the dwarven speech, and after much gesticulating on our part we made ourselves understood to him. He then revealed he and his brethren had been set to guard the Eye of Varrien — the very treasure Calwyn and Saffir have been seeking — but that the Eye had recently been stolen.
The Eye, he told us, was taken by a mysterious stranger — described to sound like one of my northern brethren, wielding great magical protections. The stranger had left a window in the air, the shimmering veil, which (so the dwarf said) would take us wherever we wished to go…
And then came the hard part. He said he and his brethren had lost honour for failing to protect the Eye, and begged us to slay him and burn the hearts of him and all his fellow guardians. It was with heavy hearts we complied — and indeed it took all four of us, for the dwarf fought mightily — but in the end we prevailed and the final dwarf guardian lay dead.
The sacred vessel
We returned to the surface of the island to burn the hearts of those poor dwarves and retrieve our village’s sacred bowl, for we had indeed left it with our gear on the riverbank. Both feats were accomplished without too much trouble. I managed to swim the river without incident this time, and regained some of belongings. Alas, Saffir’s gear was all gone, but Alix’s pack and my extra weapons were still there.
Then we braved the mystical window in the air.
I was very nervous, but Alix and I stepped through together and to our astonishment arrived in the square of our village in less time than it takes to draw my sword. In truth, we startled old Mungred, who had just emerged from her hut and did not at first recognise us as we stepped out of the air.
It was not an auspicious arrival, and although our village community was overjoyed to have the sacred vessel returned, and delighted in our tale of slaying the goblins who had stolen it, they seemed a little wary of us.
When Alix and I mentioned we planned to head south to learn more about the goblins who had attacked our village — for our new companions had told us about all the goblin activity down there — our fellow villagers did not discourage us. Indeed, they held a banquet in our honour, gifted us with all new weapons, armour and travel gear where required, and wished us a speedy journey…
So Alix and I headed south to Hyden’s Ford, which is the town where Calwyn and Saffir were headed, bearing the paladin’s corpse. They claimed to know a cleric with enough power to resurrect our erstwhile comrade, and although we did not raid the full dwarven treasure hoard, the corpses of those slain dwarves whose hearts we burned did yield some small treasure with which our companions hoped to buy the cleric’s services.
By the time we arrived in the town, the deed was done and Intan alive and well among us. (Already his god-adoring ways are starting to annoy me.) Cal was also able to purchase magic ink to transcribe some spells he’d been carrying around, and we discovered among the dwarven treasure some trinkets we divided up between us. I have gained a lovely pair of earrings to assist me with swimming.
Where to next?
So here we are in the town of Hyden’s Ford, warm and dry, with food and ale in our bellies after weeks (or was it months?) of hardship. Alix and I are keen to confront more goblins to see if we can establish whether they pose further threat to our village, while I think Cal and Saffir are simply keen to find more treasure. (And who am I to argue with that?) The newly resurrected Intan’s motives are less clear to me. I believe he will accompany us on our next expedition, so time will tell, I daresay.
There you have it! The end of my first major D&D campaign. How nice of the DM to plant a portal for us so we didn’t have to trek all the way back – heh.
Through three characters, the campaign has been going for over a year now — this is the 19th D&D Chronicles post, which is hard to believe. Ash is growing on me, although I do miss my previous character Rhi.
What will happen next, I wonder? (And we do still have that pesky Eye of Varrien that hasn’t been found.)