Seattle DnDnD

As below, so above

The source of the Derro is confronted

Previously, the group had arrived in the silent and abandoned peerage quarter of the dwarven city of cloudhome, built into the sky scraping mountain of the same name. Just as the hive of crypts that will lead them to the upper most quarter of the city and the answers they seek comes into view, the derro attack.

The fight focuses upon the square at the edge of the district, surrounded by buildings for the derro to snipe at the party from. Meat wastes no time in closing the gap and robbing the Derro of their high and range advantages as the rest of the group closes ranks and fends off the derro foolish enough to charge at ground level. Lief even summons an as of yet unseen well spring of power and channels the aspects of one of natures most ferocious beasts, the owl bear. As the battle is joined in the square the priests of the dead look on from the entrance to their labyrinth of tombs.

As the last of the derro flees back into the city the priests approach. It would appear that the attack was enough proof for the priests that the group may in fact be their salvation from the threat of recent events. The group is urged to follow as the priests wend their way deep into the catacombs. After several minutes of travel as they slowly make their way upwards within the tombs. The group enters a dimly lit hall filled with many priests and the most richly appointed of them all, standing upon a short raised platform, garbed in a black, stands their leader. The cult of dead is lead by an ancient gnarled dwarf named Istet. He wears a cloak and hood of all black, inlaid with silver embossing.

Istet informs the group that the derro arrived shortly after the cataclysm that ravaged the mountain. His priests have been unable to determine what exactly the derro are doing here. Only one priest ever returned and he had lost his mind by the time he made his way back. Istet would see the derro removed from his city. Despite Vode’s attempts to draw out the high priests obvious Lich King sympathies the priest seems determined to keep up his appearances.

Istet offers the group a priest as a guide to the royal quarter and offers a small gift of healing potions to aid the party. As the group travels upward the projected figure of “L” appears before them. It turns out he has been observing their progress. He asked that in addition to determing the source of the chaos that destroyed the royal quarter of Cloudhome that the group determine a suitable figure to rule over the city in the royal families absence. He feared that if the royal family were known to be destroyed it would cause a civil war amongst the noble families and the city of Cloudhome would become unstable. Cloudhome being a rare physical conduit between the underworld and the overworld it would be very dangerous for it to become so unstable.

The royal quarter is wasteland. What few artifacts of the great dwarven architecture remain are simply chunks of columns, arches, and carvings half buried in a sea of rubble. This fact makes the groups discovery of a near intact wooden structure all the more impressive. After searching the home the group come upon a large painting of the royal family of the city. The most shocking revelation of the painting is that Malon, the dwarven child rescued from the goblin moon, is present in the painting. This discovery suggests that she is in fact a member of the royal family of Cloudhome.

From their temporary base of operations in the home, Lief shifts into the form a bird and flies off to investigate the rest of the quarter as discretely as possible. His scouting discovers a massive staircase that appears to lead to the mountains summit. Upon the steps can be seen large scorch marks and a massive sword, far too large for a human to lift, and the corpses of near two dozen derro. Further along he discovers the warped alien structure of a temple, clearly not built in this city, sitting tilted violently to one side. Passing over the temples interior courtyard he sees a large glass cyclinder filled with a murky yellowish green fluid and the dimly perceptible shadow of a creature swimming within. Standing around the cylinder stand a small group of derro as well as a hooded figure and a large bugbear. Outside the temple is a small ramshackle hut constructed of ruins from the city. Within flash of light can be seen within and as Lief passes overhead a derro runs out of the structure on fire as his compatriots howl with laughter and pepper him with crossbow bolts.

The group decides to light the house they now reside in on fire as a distraction for the derro outside the temple. They wait for the derro to pass them to investigate and then make for the temple. Before entering they investigate the ramshackle structure near the temple. Inside they find a prison with two inmates. One is a elderly dwarf who mutters to himself between chocked back sobs and a relatively speaking small female storm giant. The storm giant introduces herself as Yvitte, the ambassador to the dwarven royal family from the people storm giant people. She offers her aid if the group will free her. The dwarf does not address the group. After rooting around the prison the party finds a set of keys and frees both the storm giant and the dwarf. The giant offers aid in destroying the derro if the party can return her sword to her. Lief tells her the swords location and Yvitte marches out to retrieve it. Meanwhile the group attempts to coax some information out of the dwarf.

The dwarf is clearly overwhelmed with grief but manages to inform them that his name is Volmer and he was once the royal engineer of Cloudhome. He says little else but frequently mutters to himself that “how could he let this happen”, “my fault, my fault”, “so many lost…” and so forth.

With Yvitte’s return the group heads into the temple to confront the derro leader. The derro have entrenched themselves in the temple behind barricades and the group struggles against their defenses and Yvitte strides through their ranks and precedes to attempt smashing the cylinder at the center, after proclaiming that “their most powerful is mine!” Yvitte succeeds in destroying the cylinder and freeing the grotesque creatures within, calling down the storm clouds at her command upon the creature the two vanish. While she battles the abomination the group presses into the temple battling the crazed derro, a slavishly loyal bugbear guardian who’s thick hide makes him a hardy foe, and the warlock leader who shows the tell tale signs of corruption from powerful dark magic. As Yvitte destroys the cyclinder the warlock looses his connection to his power source and becomes vulnerable. In addition to their foes the party battles a hail of bone from the tornado like storm cloud that covers the storm giant and the abomination and a riddling of lightnings coming off of the battle. After a great struggle the derro and the bugbear lie dead and Yvitte emerges from her evaporating cone of cloud, a bloody stump driping where her left arm once was and a great grin across her face.

The group finally makes their report to “L” that the source of the chaos has been dealt with. In addition, the group suggests Yvitte take control of the city, despite their knowledge of Malon’s ties to the royal family, believing that, for now, she is best kept out of the hands of the noble families’ politics. With their mission complete “L” informs them that the time for their proper initiation is at hand and that they will soon be contacted regarding the details. As they set out to leave Lief notices a small bird fly toward him and drop a small pebble into his hands, the pebble bares the mark of his master.

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