Following intuition, we avoid the North door and move on to the Easterly one. A strange sight befalls us. It is reminiscent of a great hall but is in ruins.
A small gravel pit is in the center of the room w/ another obelisk. No gem tops this one. A great stone table is on the North side, carved in many Dwarven designs. On the other side, a skeletal dwarf w/ glowing, hateful eyes stands behind a half-moon bar, the back stocked w/ many fine. In the center of the back wall is a chained dwarf corpse, glowing w/ power from its chest. On the obelisk is an inscription which, surprisingly, we are all able to read. It makes itself legible.
To all great leaders, must ye show fealty. Give in not to pride, avarice, or debauchery. Only through these shall ye know truth.Hung on the obelisk is a large sword, similar to a lochaber axe but with a shorter haft and longerblade , and a battle axe. There are many gouges and divets taken out of the obelisk. The dwarven bartender, as if reading our thoughts, tells us that they have dwarven mead and wine. Echo and Rod suggest that the bar is debauchery, the obelisk pride, and the table avarice. On the table is a very worn but lovingly crafted wooden box. 4” x 8”. There are no outside decorations. Echo volunteers to open the box. Inside is a pair of felt lined wooden cups and numerous bone dice.
Strongbow goes up to the bartender, sits and asks for a glass of his finest wine. The Dwarf asks if I am ready for this challenge and to accept fealty. He places a goblet of fine dwarven crystal in front of the elf and pours a glass of wine. It smells enticing, even for a dwarven vintage. It has an honey and oakey smell to it. Strongbow takes a taste. The bartender states that the challenge is fealty to the Dwarven lords. He continues drinking for a bit then declares he’s done. The bartender states “Your fealty is accepted”. A beam of yellow light shoots from the corpse on the wall and strikes Strongbow in the chest. Completely against his constitution, he feels slightly compelled to follow the dwarven lords. Echo bellys up to the bar and starts drinking heavily. Four drinks later and she is on the floor.
The Dwarf rejects her.
Rod moves up to the obelisk. The bartender follows. “Trial by stone?” Yes, replies Rod and takes the sword. The Dwarf takes the axe. Rod swings and takes a chip out of the obelisk. The dwarf strikes but the axe loses a piece. They continue the duel. After several more strikes, Rod breaks the stone in half. A beam of yellow light strikes her in the chest. She feels inclined towards the dwarves. Stone crumbles down into the gravel and a new one builds up. Strongbow moves up and draws Melina and strikes the stone against the protestations of the dwarf. As a piece comes off the stone, a burst of energy hits Strongbow in the chest, knocking him back several feet. The dwarf looks crossly at him. “You have failed”.
The dwarf walks over to the table and takes out the bone dice. Echo, managing not to waver, sits. The dwarf states that she must make a wager. She places the groups treasure bag, easily worth 200k gold, on the table. The dwarf pauses. Out of seemingly nowhere, he pulls out a beautiful gem and a bag of coins. He pushes the bag forward. “My first bet”. We place several magic items on the table. The dwarf matches w/ several other magic items.
Echo places the pink gem, the entire focus of our quest, onto the table. The Dwarf is befuddled. He glowers at us, filled w/ undying hate. “You have made an enemy this day”. The bones are rolled.
The dwarf rolls a 3.
Echo rolls a 7.
Unimaginable knowledge along w/ our riches are ours.
The wall spectre disappears. We collect the second gem.