Having found a way back to the surface via a teleportation circle maintained by a hunger of vampires, our heroes decided to return to Grayhaven to rest and consult with their allies.
Having discovered evidence that could clear Poul Orlovsky’s name, Astrid felt it urgent to contact her friend, and Poul’s son, Isaak. Having no other effective means to do so on hand, she borrowed the Frozen Heart of Orphys from Orin and used it to telepathically contact the nobleman’s son. Isaak was both relieved and disturbed by the news and moved up his travel plans to New Stetven, begging Astrid to meet him there as soon as she was able.
Meanwhile, Hudson took a quick trip to the Horse and Badger Inn to hear the latest gossip. There was not much happening in the sullen town of Grayhaven, but an old man ranting about “lights in the sky” – reported in the direction of the Titanis’ landing – caught Hudson’s attention. The man was largely ignored, but Hudson decided to pull a little trick. Catching the man’s ear, he told him he would investigate the source of the lights, which garnered great astonishment and intrigue from the man. And thus Hudson set out for Titanis.
Amber Wallace was happy to be re-united with Hudson, and they spoke at length about their quest to stop the Technic League and their purpose in Brevoy. Hudson resolved to continue aiding Astrid and her allies. Afterwards, they moved the Titanis to a new location under cover of night, to avoid any more prying eyes.
In his private chambers in Lord Garess’ castle, Orin contacted Shalako through the Frozen Heart. They spoke of the gillmen’s continuing efforts to learn about the strange barrier shielding the skum tribe beneath Avalon Bay. After the conversation, Orin’s attention was drawn through the heart again to the skum city. And at last he saw more of what occurred there, as the magic seemed to be fed from somewhere nearby – and overland.
At last the time came for our heroes to resume their quest within Golushkin. Rested and renewed, they returned to the dwarf gates, where already there were signs of new fortifications being laid – this time to protect against anything coming out of the mountain, as well as in. With short greetings and approval, they entered the mountain.
Returning to the vampire’s hideout through the same portal that brought them away from it, our heroes debated their options. They had explored every avenue of interest them except for one, and thus they returned to the Hollow Lanes through the vampires’ hidden tunnel.
The shortcut was well-served, for even as they emerged from the old cemetery, they spotted the kytons regenerated and attempting to free one of their number from being buried alive.
Skirting the lane, our heroes pressed on into a larger, more upper-class district. Yet these noble, expensive homes were just as decrepit and ruined as the lanes.
The beast, a malformed and bizarre dragon, came upon them quickly. Yet Hudson was quick to aim for the beast’s head, keeping it dazed and confused. It overcame his fire at last, but not soon enough to avoid the blows of Astrid. As it lurched forward to engulf the warrior, she struck it directly, pinning it to the ground with her bardiche through its tongue and jaw. Hudson, Thorgur and Orin seized upon the opportunity to deliver a number of mortal wounds to the beast, and with a terrible gasp, it died.
And as it died, its whole body seemed to withdraw in upon itself, shrinking and withering until its flesh and bones were blown away, mere dust in the stale wind, leaving only a dull, mundane rock to mark its existence.
Pocketing the rock, our heroes quickly discovered that as the beast died, a magical, hidden door was revealed from the end of the noble district. A series of stairs led down.
With no other leads, they descended.
Our heroes found themselves in some kind of hideout, long abandoned, but filled with signs of use since the mountain fell. And at the bottom, Thorgur was faced with more dwarven runic script, and something troubling: an invective to Torag, a call for benediction to break a seal so that one of faith might put an end to the blasphemous rituals taking place at the Forge.
Thorgur searched within himself but came up empty. There was little faith left in his heart. Nevertheless, he spoke aloud the words, and a pathway opened both within the chamber and somewhere above, near the surface.
A lift returned our heroes to the Halls of Golka, where they found the mystery of the sealed doorway now solved. It stood open, revealing a long set of stairs. Stairs that would, according to Toval Golka, lead them to the Great Forge at last…