After crossing the causeway, we pass through an archway and a huge underground city opens up to us! This is amazing! As we walk towards the city center, I find myself more and more amazed. This work – it calls to me. Could this we the work of my ancestors? I am, after all, seeing ancient carvings of bearded dwarves hewn from the living rock. Am I … home? Or is home merely anywhere I lay my head?
There’s a fire in the distance, and what looks like a single figure tending to it. They’re in a large room beyond the remains of a large and heavy wooden door, with one half still on hinges and the other long since fallen to the ground. We need to act quickly, so instead of trying and most likely failing to stealthily creep in, I decided to just loudly walk in – full dwarf – and allow my noise to mask the movements of the party.
This starts to go well. When asking who goes there and my business, I reply with:
OZAMATAZ STONECUTTER, HERE TO RECLAIM THE DOMAIN OF MY PEOPLE!
That, well that went over as well as one might think. Guess what? It’s fight time. I close on him quickly, and land a few blows with a glaive. This guy though, he seems to have a problem with being unconscious and/or dead. Also? He doesn’t seem to like to be without his bulette, which he promptly summons. Right on top of me.
I barely have enough time to switch to the Umbertaker™ and take a chunk outta him (NAT20) before he hops onto the saddle on his bulette and burrow away. And that saddle was embroidered with what I assume his name was – Francis. What. An. Ass.
And now, arrows are raining down on us from a terrace above, so I haul ass up some stairs along the wall. And speaking of hauling (an) ass, the stairs below me are knocked out by that bulette and its hemorrhoid, Francis. I fall to a lower landing, and being REALLY pissed off, I yell “MAXIMUM EFFORT” as I launch myself onto the back of the bulette and take two swings at this guy.
First swing: miss. DAMMIT. Second swing: miss. DOUBLE DAMMIT! Francis, the aforementioned ass, knocks me off. Well you know what? Screw that guy, I’m done with this. I swing the Umbertaker again, and can I tell you how satisfying it was to see him slide off his mount? Well, it was! Especially since I got to see it twice – first his top half, then the bottom. Dick.
His ride spins to attack me and misses (aww poor baby, miss your precious Francis?) and burrows away. It’s just now that I have a moment to survey the mayhem around me – there’s blood and body parts everywhere. There’s even a baddie that looks like he got dropped from a pretty damn good height. Good job on dropping him and not some kid this time, Kary.
Our numbers have dwindled, but so have theirs. I make a rousing speech to keep the morale up – those commoners look rattled, and they should be – we lost four men. But, we gained some weapons and armor, so those squishies should be a little less squishy. We find a place back in the city to hole up and get some much-needed rest for a while.
After a while though, I’m awakened by a squishie – he’s spotted someone skulking through the city. I get Kary with his keen eyes up to see what he can see. It’s a single tattooed warrior, carrying a bag of what’s probably loot. Since he’s heading OUT of town, no sense in disturbing our rest. Later, dude.
After nursing our wounds and healing up, it’s back to the kill room. Kary flies up to the terrace and checks out the door there ( there are some big double doors in that room, but perhaps that’s for another time ), and throws down a rope so we can climb up. Ont he other side is a room – what looks like a barracks. There’s not really much here (guessing that guy took whatever goods there were), but off on one end is section of floor that’s just wrong. The floor is … rippled? Rippling? Whatever the words are, it’s been magically modified.
Magically modified, but not that strong – doesn’t hold up well against a maul. Apparently, it’s hiding a passage. We start to talk about who’s going first, but let’s be honest, it’ll be me. Besides, I don’t feel compelled to explore it, but something innate, something dwarven calles me to it. So while they’re still working their way to the natural, I go ahead into the tunnel.
And man, is it a good tunnel. This really is fun – I could get used to this. An annoying thing though, is my itchy face. Well, itchy body, really. Hair! HAIR! I’ve never had it, and I’ve honestly always wanted it, but man is it itchy when it’s growing out.
This tunnel is getting muddier bit by bit. I can somehow sense that I’ve arced around, and am now more or less parallel to the chasm. And up ahead, I can hear a woman mumbling, something about where the hell her reinforcements are. And cursing about how undeserving Marlos is. Marlos! This seems like a good time to return to the party and report my findings.
We’re not sure who she is and what side she’s on or even what she’s on, but this muddy dwarf doesn’t really care. An enemy of Marlos is a friend of mine, at least for a little while. Well, we all head in the tunnel, me leading the way. It takes a little longer – you’d think that the way these guys are crawling that they’d never been in a muddy tunnel before. Amateurs.
So, we pop out into this room, surprising the murmuring woman and what looks to be her son. We don’t immediately murdilate her as she seems to be pretty harmless, if a bit loony. Besides, she probably has some useful info. So we’re standing there all muddy, but somehow not muddy enough for her! It must’ve been an odd scene, this loon ADDING mud to our adventuring party. But, when under Rome…
She mostly rambling and not making sense, talking about snake people, infiltration, and attacking Marlos. She also says we need to speak to Mirage and how they’ll Make Athus Great Again. Now I know she’s fully gone. I’m standing there doubting she’s ever seen a mirage, and remember some particularly spirit-breaking ones I’ve seen, when she leads us to another room. This room? This room’s more my style. The walls are lined with spiky statues of dwarves, and instead of hands they have spiky mauls. Battledwarf mud/clay golems? Yes, please. And in the center of the room is a stone slab with a pile of mud on it. Beside it, working with the mud, is a dwarf wearing nothing but a great beard. A BEARD! THAT ABOUT GOES TO THE FLOOR! I’ve never seen so much hair on a dwarf! It’s glorious!
Here, in the Inner Mud Sanctum, we’re talking to who we need to talk to – the spectacularly hairy dwarf is Mirage. He can tell instantly (unlike the crazy lady) that we’re not mud cultists. No shit. So, we play things straight with him, no bs. He’d worked with Marlos to find the Fane of the Eye, and then was betrayed and banished. He also tells us that while the Black Earth Cult can use the earth to their advantage, they have problems with mud (makes sense – adding another element to the mix). He’s willing to use his servants/cultists, his tunnels, and his mud golem / humanoid pile of mud, Kierkegaard. There’s one condition though – he wants Ironfang as his own.
Dang. I really want that item. They seem like decent enough terms and so we agree to them, but we’ll have to ultimately decide what to do when the time comes about Ironfang.
Also, perhaps we can temporarily ally with another cult? Air doesn’t really work down here, but water + earth = mud, and that doesn’t seem to work too well for these earth guys. Man, our temporary alliances are getting hard to keep track of. And in the future, something to keep in mind: if we can tunnel underneath Feathergale, we could perhaps make their foundation unstable. The taller the tower, the harder it falls.
Mirage has one last bit of help to offer: he has an agent in Marlos’ dungeon. She’s a halfling (ugh) name Ruhk, and he can get us into her cell through a mud tunnel.
Session Date: 12/08/16 Prior Journal XP: 250, Session XP: 1,533, Total XP: 18,869
Title: Primus – My Name is Mud