The Crystal Dominion - Session 22 Summary
RedEye - A sayune darkwalker with rogue skills and a few spells of sorcery.
Eiran - An elven ranger and archer with a gift for communicating with animals.
Sir Tristan - A knight in shining armor, man of honor and courage, and a skilled swordsman.
Alan - A human arcanologist... a magic tinkerer with a keen ability to "reprogram" spells and magic items.
Rikhaal – A human priest of Barrinor with an array of spells and powerful healing magic.
Koeglur – An ogre warrior, former slave, rescued by the party. Now serves the party.
Osh – A 12 year old human male serving as a squire to Sir Tristan.
Raluvin – A magically constructed humanoid mechanical automaton designed for service rather than combat.
At the end of last session, the players had just made a shocking discovery… beneath the lowest level of the Kalrothis fort, inside the mountain, there was a monstrous cavern. More than two miles across, it held forests, a lake, an island and what appeared to be a castle and village, both inhabited. This wondrous self contained world was lit from above by thousands of naturally occurring crystals in the cavern ceiling high above.
The players had a magnificent view of this scene from a high ledge carved from the very rock of the cavern wall. We ended last session with them sitting around a large conference table on their stone “balcony” discussing what to do next. They decided to return to the dock level above, wait for their guild soldiers to reopen the mountain top at sunset and then make contact with the Swordtongue Guild using the magic mirror.
After a short conversation with the Guild leaders, it was decided that the party would return to the cavern and gather as much information as they could. They needed to find out who the inhabitants were and how they came to be there. Meanwhile, the Guild would send additional soldiers as soon as possible. The inhabitants in the mountain might be the descendants of the slaves who worked the mine 2000 years ago. Or they could be a rival guild who had gotten to the mine before the players. In any case, it seemed that taking possession of Kalrothis would not be as simple as they had thought.
The party decided that the guild soldiers who had made camp outside the mountain top and were waiting for them should no longer open up the mountain top every evening. Instead, they would do it every 5 nights. It was also decided that the soldiers should not loiter here at the mountain top. A camp of a dozen men here for multiple days might attract unwanted attention. The party ordered the soldiers to retreat back down the mountain to the old orcish outpost that the party had explored on the way up. There the soldiers could camp without risking exposing the hidden mountain top entrance.
Meanwhile Alan would try to figure out a way to open the mountain top from the inside.
The party went back inside to the dock area and the mountain top was again sealed up.
RedEye was in possession of a magical power that he did not use very often… communing with dark entities in the nether realms to divine answers to questions. He had mastered this ability in his studies weeks before, but had not really put it to the test yet. The party decided to give it a try. They discussed what to ask and when they had decided what questions to pose, RedEye prepared himself. He used his herbs to enter a trance and sent his mind out probing the swirling eddies of the ether and made contact with his spirit guide there and began to ask questions.
Here are the questions that RedEye asked and in a deep and reverberating voice, the Darkness gave these cryptic responses back…
What do you know about the cave system?
Empty silent centuries
Are there any other ways into this great cavern?
Long forgotten tunnels wander through deep places of the world. Land shakes, rock splits, chasm yawns
Where is this other entrance?
How does the gate open from the inside?
The gate opens for he who plays the notes
Who are the people in the mine?
The collected minds of a homeless lord
How long have they been there?
Since the time of the fall of the Hyttar
Who do they now serve?
He who binds the mind and will,
Sought for decades, searching still
Found this cavern of crystal stars
Seeks to know lost lore and arts
From the cryptic response about opening the gate, Alan remembered that the seven crystal rods attached to the crystal fountain, when activated, each had a different tone. The mountaintop outside opened whenever the notes from Undelph’s last rhyme (a song also known as “Flowerfall”) were played. Alan tried using the tones from this crystal apparatus to play the song, playing the notes quickly. It worked. Instead of activating the seven separate functions of each rod, the tones of the crystal rods together formed the song. The rumbling outside indicated that the boulders were moving out of position and the gate opened. So now they had the means to open and close the mountain top gate at will. They sent word down to the soldiers at their base camp that they no longer needed to worry about opening up the gate. The players would simply come back out when they were done with their explorations.
The party descended down to the balcony. Last session, the party had found an odd vehicle sitting to the side of the balcony. It was some what like a sled, although it was clear that this contraption was magical and designed to fly. It was powered by four of the standard cut crystals that they had been finding throughout the previous two levels of the dungeon (although the brackets that held these crystals were empty). Alan had previously determined that he would be able to repair the sled and get it flying again, but it would take some time.
While Alan worked on the sled, Tristan and Osh ventured down the stairs from the balcony and followed the road for awhile. This road hugged the inner cavern wall as it descended from the high balcony down to the forests and hills below. About half a kilometer down, Tristan and Osh came to a large gap in the road. A huge cleft in the cavern wall was aligned with this gaping hole in the road. Most likely this was a crack in the mountain from some land quake centuries ago. In any case, the gap was 30 feet… too big to jump across. And Tristan did not trust his climbing skills to attempt to climb around the gap. The two turned back and returned to the group.
Meanwhile RedEye sat in the seat at the lens array (the strange telescopic device with all of the mirrors and lenses). He activated its telescopic function and gazed upon he lands below. With the machine, he was able to see humans working in the crops and fields below. He saw a few people on a distant road and a few people in the village. Two boats were out in the lake. After a short while he saw a group of people leave the village and head along the road up to the gate tower. This was one of two twin towers that faced each other across a chasm. A stone bridge had once crossed the gap between the two gatehouses, but that bridge had collapsed long ago.
This group that he watched consisted of 18 people. It was a mix of orcs, ogres, humans and even a dwarf and half elf. Mark noticed that there were two distinct groups… most of the orcs and ogres (and one human) were armed and armored. Most of the other humans, and the half elf and dwarf, were dressed as peasants and carried heavy loads of boxes and bags. It seemed that there were two groups – armed guards and ragged slaves.
At last Alan had completed his repairs. He dropped the four crystals in place and the sled began to light up. Alan quickly yanked out the fourth crystal and the sled powered down. Alan was afraid that such lights might be seen by those below.
With Raluvin’s help, Alan studied the controls of this sled and determined that one of its functions was a knob with the words “God Lights” next to it. Raluvin translated for him. Alan turned this function off.
After a few tests and experiments with the controls, they were ready. Everyone boarded the sled. Alan gently nudged the controls and the sled began to rise up. Within seconds, they were flying. They slowly descended from the high ledge, straight down the rocky cliff face to the forest below. Alan wanted to make sure that they were not seen so they flew very low… barely skimming over the grass and bushes, weaving between large trees.
They saw many unusual forms of plant life. While the vegetation down here fell into familiar categories – tree, bush, grass – the party had never seen these varieties before. Many of the trees had smooth rounded leaves rimmed in bioluminescent edges. These leaves were constantly moving and shifting. One type of tree had long tentacle like vines that retracted quickly at the approach of the hovering sled. The party wisely gave that tree a wide berth. It had a bestial predatory look about it.
They made there way toward a rocky hill that rose above the canopy of trees. They set the sled down on the side of the hill away from the village, well out of sight and then climbed up to the top of the hill to get a better view.
From the vantage point on the hill top, they had a good view of the trees and land below. About 200 meters to the northwest,they saw a trio of armed hunters - two squat and wild looking orcs and a tall lean ogre in a long coat. One of the orcs was kneeling down and studying the ground, clearly tracking something. The three hunters were then on the move again, having altered their course slightly.
The party looked to the south, in the direction that the three hunters were moving. They saw a human form, crouching in the bushes. The party deduced that this might be a runaway slave and those armed guards were searching for the man.
A plan was quickly formulated. RedEye ran down toward the armed guards, used his dark magic to cloak himself and then led the hunters away with various sounds and false tracks. Soon he had them several hundred meters away.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group approached the runaways. As they made their way down into the forest, Eiran was attacked and incapacitated by an aggressive plant. He was rescued by the others, but rendered unconscious.
After several failed attempts to catch the runaways on foot, Alan brought down the hovering sled. Soon all of them, in the sled, made contact with the runaway. It turned out to be not one, but two runaway slaves. Both women, one younger, one older. It he older woman was quite fearful and refused to answer any questions. The younger one, once she got over her initial shock and fear, was more communicative. It quickly became apparent that she spoke several languages.
The younger woman was Myra and the older was Siara. Myra expressed awe at the sudden appearance of the strangers and their amazing vehicle. She quickly explained that she was from Vorrik, that she and others from her village had been captured in an orc raid years ago and that she had been trapped in this underworld a slave to various orcish groups for several years.
Alan asked her how long they had been in this cavern and she said that she and the other slaves had come here with their captors 5 years ago.
The party decided it would be best to retreat back to the balcony where they could talk at length with the two women without fearing interruptions by the slavers. Everyone boarded the sled and Alan flew it back up to the balcony, where they landed and disembarked.
This is where we ended the session. Back on the balcony, the sled is working and the party has rescued two escaped slaves. Next session, the party plans to question the two women and get answers to all of their questions.