I don’t remember the time…
The blur of the besiegement is lifted from my mind, but only slightly. The rest-without-sleep left me with far more questions on too many topics. And my body remembers the weariness of yesterday (today?) like an ache I cannot sooth. I can only claim folly for my actions that follow. Looking back I am amazed and bewildered, but it was a feeling I would grow accustomed to.
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Coming down a narrow passage between unforgiving rock and rushing river (some 20 feet below), a warg steps out from the shadow to block Tova’s path. Something small comes from the gap between the passage and the stone columns that outline the room head. He throws a flask at Tova. She blocks it with her arm, the flask shatters and fire explodes all over her arm. The cascade of liquid napalm flows off Tova and down upon nearby Tira.
Tira beats out the fire on Tova with her cloak.
Tova takes her chain up short and fires the blade end out, but the narrow corridor causes issues, deflecting her ancestor chain and missing the warg that was her target. The warg falls back in surprise, growling all the while.
A second grenade is lobbed from the darkness, and it hits the flat corner of the ledge Tova’s standing on, with a limited amount splashing across her legs. From the shadows, an orcish voice curses mighty. The voice demands to know what does it take to kill us Dwarves! He’s sent gelatinous cubes, orcish hordes and a giant! He fails to realize – we never left.
Sif picks up her axe and moves in front of Tova, narrowly squeezing by on the tiny ledge. Tova calls down the power of the gods to infuse her ancient chain with their holy power. Tira moves ahead of her sister; but for the third time, Tova is hit with a flask that explodes. The fire spreads rapidly across her, knocking her unconscious as she falls into the rock face and slides down. Sif, Tira and Shamus are all hit by the splash of liquid fire as it cascades off Tova.
The unknown stranger continues to rant. He wants us dead and is completely dismayed by how long it is taking. Shamus casts flurry of snowballs on the ranting opponent. The flurry frosts the columns. The stranger screams and ducks behind the column to try and save himself.
Tira moves to her sister puts out the fire. Sif rages against the enemy and strikes at one of the wargs. The horse-sized wolves move in to attack! They both start snapping at the air with their big fangs and one manages to duck in and grab her, yanking her forward. The other one reaches in and grabs her ankle. They start trying to tear her apart. She falls backwards.
The stranger moves out into the open, behind the horse-sized wolves. He tries to lob something over the wolves, but misses Sif and the flask lands on the edge of the cliff. The fire flows over all who are nearby, but for once no one catches fire.
Shamus rushes up to beside Tova and pours a healing potion down her throat. Stinna does the same. Tova wakes up and Stinna is standing on her hair.
Tira starts to sing. Normally her songs inspire people to excel. This time, however, the ranting enemy is up against he wall and looking quite panicked. Faintly visible spectral dwarves start marching up behind him. They are stepping forward in time with her chanting. There are more and more ranks coming forward, some are marching through thin air towards us. They are faint blue armour outlines.
Sif strikes at one of the horse-sized wolves with her axe. It knocks him loose and she cleaves into his snout, dislocating his jaw. He drops dead. The spectral figure of the armour’s outline slams his shield into the wolf.
Tova stands up and grants Stinna a quick blessing.
The wolf shifts to block the corridor. The wolf grabs Sif’s leg, clamping down and starts shaking it. The ranting enemy throws a grenade off to the left, trying to destroy the spectres. The grenade shatters on the floor and spills its fire everywhere. The spectres are unhurt.
A large spear head skewers the ranting enemy, and he collapses from the blow. The spearman is a large humanoid figure, currently on fire.
Tira fires her crossbow at the wolf and misses. Sif, still prone, wails on the last-standing horse-sized wolf; amputating his right-front leg. He stumbles forward, and bleeding profusely. The spectral soldier standing over her slams the wolf again with his shield. Tova takes a swing, and the hammer on her chain crashes into the wolf’s skull, crashing the beast into the wall.
The creature is 11’ tall skeleton, covered in chain mail and wielding a giant spear. And he’s on fire.
Stinna moves up and heals Tova. Tova strikes at the creature as it approaches.
The creature tries to jab Stinna with his spear, jarring her. She stumbles backwards from the blow. Shamus runs forward and casts Flurry of Fireballs on the skeleton while Sif uses a potion of healing on herself.
Stinna comes in with a low arc and kneecaps the thing; its femur is just floating above its tibia; but it doesn’t seem to be stumbling. The skeletal giant climbs up to our level. It’s a head taller than Tova’s massive form. It raises its spear and lunges towards Tova, skewing her! With a backhand, it claws at Tira.
Shamus fires a glob of acid at the creature, and misses. Sif races forward and strikes at him with her axe.
Stinna heals Tova . The giant tries to skewer Stinna again, pushing her against the wall, but it doesn’t penetrate her new armour. It tries to take a 1/2 step back from Sif and claw her down; she ducks out of the way and while its claws rake across her chest. Shamus grabs the wand off Tira but fails to activate it.
Sif swings upwards and cleave the figure through its pelvus, up through its rib cage and tearing its sternum out. It waivers and it staggers as it is now missing a few vertibrae; the energies holding it together finally fail and it clatters to the ground.
With the skeleton dead, we spend some time healing Torva and stabilizing Tira. We are all badly wounded. We frantically pass around potions and wands. As Tira awakens, the armour silhouettes start moving backwards into the bone pit, just a few steps below us.
On the lower level of the natural cavern, there are hand-carved stairs leading down to a pit. The ceiling arches above us some 25’ above and it is covered in stalagmites. The columns along the water way are the only stalactites to meet the stalagmites. A giant skeleton is in the bottom of the pit. Three stalagmites have formed around the skeleton. The skeleton is 10-12 feet tall. It’s wearing heavy, very dark armour. It seems to be a grainy mat colour. It’s holding a giant hammer. At its feet is a giant pile of bones. The skeleton appears to have been skewered by dozens of weapons. Arrow heads are embedded in its bones.
Shamus finds three strong auras around the creature: its hammer and armour are both magical. The third aura is under its helmet.
The next room, beyond one we’re in, looks shrine-like. Shamus thinks the skeletons along the walls must have been here for thousands of years. There is one indentation in the wall missing a skeleton; it is most likely the one we fought and killed.
As Shamus comes back from scouting, he grabs the skeleton’s hammer. The bluish silhouettes of dwarves surround some of the skeletons, and they surge outwards, away from the hammer. As he grasps it, he feels a wave of nausea comes over him and the hammer shifts in his grasp, shrinking down. Along with it, the skeleton and the armour are pulling themselves apart and away from the stalagmite that pierces it.
As the bones shrink, there’s a cracking of stone as rocks cascade down. Shamus backs away, holding onto the hammer. Within a matter of seconds the skeleton and stalagmites all start tumbling down. The hammer becomes a comfortable fit in his hands.
As the dust clears, there’s a large assembly of dwarven silhouettes that come into view. The armour has changed appearance. Some of the grainy black grit has fallen away and there are several shiny metal parts to it. It seems that the armour is covered with elongated hexagons, each embossed with a silhouette. The armour is embossed with the noble lineage of the kings of Koldukar.
As I dig through the pile, I’m picking up bones and stuff, the bones are made of stone – calcified. By the size and shape, the giant skeleton looks to have originally been dwarven sized.
The hammer is familiar to Shamus. He spends some time figuring out that the hammer is actually the Hammer given by Torag to his priests and his kings to found the kingdom of Kuldukar. This was used to create all the legendary arms and armour. That it was lost was one of the legendary reason that Koldukar fell. This is a Telagular of a Temple. While there are many, this Telagular is special. When Shamus hands it to me, it changes form; going from a small jeweller’s hammer, to that of a smith’s hammer.