The undead are held back by the fields. We decide, with the help of the dragon gods, that Rod will turn the dead and we will attempt to keep them away and make our way to the hot marble doors. It is a difficult walk w/ all the corpses. The zombies are not present in as many numbers as we expected. Five large doors, ten feet in height, are there w/ huge brass rings, all intricately carved. A serpent eating its own tail.
We open the doors. An orange glow covers us and a wave of heat nearly overwhelms us. Inside is an ancient forge system. Overhead is the sky, the opening of the volcano. The levels above have balconies and walkways. Grabbing a few helmets, (Ackdor finding one truly fancy). Rod calls out that the main chamber has turned freezing cold. In the distance, Strongbow sees some sort of spectral image. Evil. Magical. It flees from us. Echo and Strongbow follow, almost getting trapped in one of the cages. A strike by Melina doesn’t effect it. Moving forward we find the zombies, waiting at the entrance to a mine. Rod’s connection to the gods clears our way.
Moving in, we eventually come to a split. Two to the right, One to the left, and an alcove. Feeling the history of the place, I ‘read’ the alcove.
“I see hordes of slaves, armed w/ whatever they could, flooding through the mines. Their rage directed at a circle of Dwarves surrounding their evil king with his armor and sceptor. I find myself compelled to join them, one of them, even more hatred toward the dwarven oppressors than I normally feel. The dwarves near me are going to die. “
Stongbow turns and faces Ackdor screaming in ancient Dwarven “Die Dwarf Oppressor” and strikes at him. Echo calls on Ahn Semh to help, beg Melina to break through to him. Power flows through Echo from Ahn Semh and catches Strongbow’s eye, causing him to turn his blade at the last second before impaling the Goblin . Ackdor and Strongbow struggle, pulling the net from Ackdor. A bolt from Rod misses. King entraps him w/ a bola and Ackdor pins Strongbow to the ground. Ahn-Sem’s power through Echo eventually coming to his senses.
“The slaves are gone. The dwarf on my back is gone, instead there is Ackdor who offers me a drink. “
We move towards the circle. It appears to be a circle of graves. In the center is malice. The king from Strongbows vision, standing, undead w/ the scepter. A zombie grabs the arrow Strongbow shoots at the king. Rod sinks into the earth as the rock turns to mud. Strongbow uses all his mental abilities and the king collapses in a scream. The ground freezes up around Rod, entrapping her. The zombie guard falls to dust.
Rod shifts her form and wiggles out of the hole. She’s a Changling. We accept it for the nonce. Echo senses magic. The Scepter and one of the grave registers. Rod senses evil and again it is the scepter.
It speaks to us. A Rune device. We decide to dispose of it in the volcano. Digging up the grave, we find the Rune stone that was the object of our quest. Echo rummages through the king’s body and finds many ancient artifacts.
Finding our way out of the tunnels, we throw the scepter into the volcano. The trap door is open. On the way out we gather the jems, jewelry and weapons that we had marked for collection later. King takes enough weapons for his tribe. Several rings and a tiara, registering as magical, join the collection.