The day after we fought the young Crimson Reaver in a torrential downpour we stood in the entrance passage of Black Gut’s lair. Our wounds mostly healed from the previous day’s battle with the young dragon. After Vorox had dropped it I managed to harvest a vial of venom from the corpse. Tweena was in the lead wielding the key-ring she snatched from Blackgut’s body before we torched it. Greyshadow, Vorox’s dragonsaur mount, was left to guard the tunnel entrance as he was simply too big to follow. I of course was taking up the rear of the party.
We followed Tweena down the roughly and freshly hewn stone 20 ft.-wide passage crossing a 20 ft.-wide pit crossed by a narrow but thick plank of wood at abouts halfway, past a couple of forking, primitively dug dirt tunnels and stopped briefly at a 15 ft. well-masoned archway where Tweena detected a trap door in the floor. Vorox crossed after she disarmed it and I simply teleported to a flagstone deemed safe by the dungeoneer. We found ourselves in a large rectangular chamber with stone-block walls. There were iron doors to the west and east and a large polished bronze door dead ahead. This door she opened with her keys and through the door we could see a green glow emanating poisonously from the west of the chamber behind and a large troll wearing a war-belt and wielding a warhammer near the rear wall of that chamber.
Tweena pegged the troll with a crossbow bolt and unwilling to walk into the chamber for fear of traps Vorox taunted the creature in an effort to draw it out. I zapped it with a lightning bolt and it retreated to the east out of our line of sight. Tweena quickly checked the floor in the doorway and found another trapdoor in the floor so I teleported to where the troll had been standing and gazing towards where the troll had run I spied a familiar hallway. It was the hall I had scryed several days earlier (see A Mage from Poisonwood II Pt.1). The troll with the warhammer was just disappearing into a dark room at the end of the hall. I tried to catch him with my shadow ribbons spell but was too late. I hear the words, “Pull the lever!” No doubt gurgled from the diseased throat of the hammer-wielding coward followed by a series of mechanical clanks. Spikes came out of the ceiling and I was able to dodge the crushing ceiling to where I could remember seeing the lever. Unfortunately I found myself right next to a second troll.
I blinded the troll with a blinding flash and pulled the lever resetting the trap clearing the way for my pals. I spotted the silhouette of a troll-wife in the archway to the north which I knew was the torch-lit workshop of the recently late Blackgut. The lever-troll blindly lashed out clawing me but good, I teleported to the other side of the chamber, the first troll moved out of the shadows blocking my exit into the hall by the lever. Tweena and Vorox rounded the corner into my view and Vorox charged the first troll, the one wielding the warhammer. I attempted to cast phantom flame but it fizzled. The second and still completely blinded troll attempted to grab for the lever. Tweena dashed into the room and Vorox hacked down the warhammer troll in a single powerful strike. I used my gold magic ring, the one set with a ruby, unleashing an elemental blast of fire roasting the troll-wife a little. I then blasted her with a lightning bolt finally doing her in with a couple of acid bolts. Tweena jabbed the final troll with her dagger and Vorox finished him off. I zapped the leftover troll-meat with acid bolts ending the battle.
Tweena jaunted into the second archway to the north which led to a stinking, filthy kitchen. She said she had seen a ratling run in there during the fighting. I silently moved into the workshop and casting illuminate I spied and collected 6 gold talons, 10 silver talons, a talon mold, 10 iron pigs, and 1 titanium ingot from an open chest while the others hunted ratling in the troll’s mess. When the my companions entered after a little while, and long after I concealed my hard won booty, I pointed out a locked iron bound chest in the corner. I stepped just outside of the room. Tweena opened the chest lock avoiding the blade trap she triggered while doing so. She found a scale-mail vest with titanium inlay, 50 pieces of tiger eye, and 10 alexandrites. We went back south to the southernmost doorway with Tweena in the lead into what could only be described in the most banal terms as Blackgut’s bedchamber. The dungeoneer buzzed straight to the giant locked chest she spotted in the corner opposite the corner with the bucket/chamber-pot.
She thought it wasn’t trapped and picked the lock catching her hands in a spring-loaded blade trap nearly losing the fingers on both hands. Vorox had to rub some healing salve she had tucked away on her hands for her. Her hands were basically useless for the rest of the day. Within the chest we found a large sack filled with 500 gold pieces, 50 rubies, 1,000 silver pieces, 10 platinum pieces, and 50 copper pieces. There was also a high quality troll-make greatsword with a serpentine magic-alloy blade, a high quality troll-make dagger with a serpentine magic-alloy blade, a high quality titanium buckler, 5 bronze pigs, 50 gold talons, a manual on runes, 2 matching superior quality magic alloy battle axes with single large fire-emeralds on the heads and ironwood silver-wire wrapped grips, a superior quality large troll-make magic alloy greatsword, a high quality blue steel skull cap with star metal rivets inlaid with star metal, a high quality silver dagger with a jewel-encrusted grip, a highest quality platinum pectoral plate featuring a sculpted demon’s head bearing a large onyx gem in its multi-fanged mouth, 2 potions of healing, a potion of dampen magic, 1 oil of feather light, and several unlabeled bottles (2 of powder, 1 of oil and 2 of potions). Tweena also found a hidden compartment in one of the walls in which she found a lionel-hide bag of holding containing a medium silver shield with blood metal rivets, and dragon-hide bracers studded with dragon-bone. We began on our way out with Tweena still in the lead.
She led us to the source of the green glow and found a rather large fire-emerald which she appraised at around 8,000 gold pieces in value. We left it where it was as the ceiling and floor of the hallway at which the tempting, glowing gem was at the end of were made of solid steel. We all spent the night in the stone passage outside the lair entrance; a light sprinkle was coming down.
The next morning was marked by a torrential downpour so instead of traveling Tweena decided to make a go at the larger emerald, I was of course included in her plan to snatch it. I held out for the bag of holding. Her plan was to have me next to her when she grabbed the gem and I would teleport her out hopefully with the gem in her hands outside of the lair. SO the plan failed to capture the gem which was magically trapped with the Electrical Field spell and I lost one of my daggers, it had been stuck to the magnetized floor, when I teleported us out of there. The emerald was attached to its pedestal at the end of the steel hallway. It took about 2 days to get back to Rockhollow with a 1 day stopover in Blackwood and Druid Blackleaf’s tree through sporadic icy, cold showers.
It was still raining when we walked into town. Without pause I led the others to meet up with my alchemist contact, Ebaik, and paid him to identify the gear I couldn’t. The titanium buckler was a buckler of deflection and defence. The paired battle-axes had the ability to unleash the doom scythe spell on a critical strike. The skull cap was capable of casting the invisibility II and guardian shield spells. The pectoral plate was evil so the group agreed to let the alchemist “unmake” it. The silver shield was a simple magic shield and bracers were bracers of true-striking. The oil was an Oil of Stench; the powders were of Eagle Form and Conjure Flame. The potions were of Owl’s Wisdom and Fleet of Foot. After divvying up the equipment we went to deliver Blackgut’s horned helmet to Lord Black Eagle and collect our reward. We got 1,000 gold pieces for the bounty and an invite to Lord Black Eagle’s fall feast in 3 weeks. We left and were eager to get back to the longhouse in order to divvy up the remaining gems and coinage besides I was cold, tired and soaked to the bone. I was giving the teleport thing a rest.
Nailed to the front door with a crossbow bolt was poster bearing the mark of the Red Daggers and the words: 1,000 gold pieces for the head of Baerig Bronze Mask.
To Be Continued…