The glowing tunnels of Madness…
After taking a long winter break to restock, rebuild and further prepare ourselves for the eventual Hobgoblin onslaught, our hunting party decided that to brave the howling winter storms this year would be tantamount to suicide. Besides, beneath the fortress was a yawning cavern opening into untold peril that had to be investigated to insure that no attack would come from that direction. Additionally, we realized that with all of the building and preparation we had been doing, our coffers were dipping low, and perhaps there would be opportunities for riches in the shadowed halls that could solve two problems with one stone. I was not so eager to disappear into the benighted depths, but the unseasonable cold just continued to get worse, and the harbor was locked tight until spring from the deadly morozkos.
So, we gathered what gear would could and began our journey at the very base of Brinewall Fortress. The first and most important thing to realize about traveling beneath the ground, is that it is very very slow going. The first obstacle we had to overcome, was the fact that Brinewall appears to be right in the center of a large nest of gremlins. As we made our way from the keep, these blighted little creatures did their best to trick us with several lethal traps and The twisting caverns and caves do not lend themselves to easy navigation, and my abilities to keep my direction were pushed to the absolute limit. Even then, we would occasionally find ourselves cut off from further progress and be forced to turn back to find another route that would let us continue. The days and Miles crawled by as we descended deeper until we were set upon by a raiding party of troglodytes who had wandered far from the known territories of their tribes. We done fully know if they were just lost, or their tribe had split off from a larger group, but after we had defeated them by killing their leader, the rest of them lost the will to fight and gladly handed over all of their worldly goods.
We were nearly several weeks in, and to date, our haul consisted of some bits of bone.. a few polished river rocks.. and a wooden sword made with shards of volcanic glass, it would be useless to us in combat, but might be worth some coin to a collector. We were determined to reach the intersection with the map provided to us by Olli’s mother. Unfortunately we had found little of any value,so we would soon be forced to turn around and start back home with next to nothing to show for our efforts.
That night, as we slept in a side cave, our party was attacked by a group of Derro, who came upon us at night and immediately set upon us. They used a curious kind of poison on our hunting party, but we were able to turn the combat and overcome them before they were able to kill one of us. That was when we made a startling discovery..
Each Derro had a small vial of an alchemical potion that destroyed memories. This potion would keep new memories from being formed for a while, and would erase the memory of anyone that was forced to drink it for an extended period of time. This alchemical mixture was extremely valuable, as it can only be produced by the Derro.. and the Derro being hopelessly insane do not willingly part with it. Therefor we had found a return for all the time and fighting down in the underdark.. hopefully. The nature of the mixture and what its normally used for present some unique challenges. Furthermore, its so valuable, that offloading it might prove more of a challenge then we had first imagined. Tammerhawk of Riddleport has the resources, but considering the shaving we got over the Golem, All of us are reluctant to deal with him again unless absolutely necessary. None of us are eager to put ourselves over a barrel with the arch-mage, so we may need to find a relatively fast way to Magnimar or some other port with the resources to offload these potions.. especially if we return to retrieve more.
We turned back to go deeper into Derro Territory, (I managed to find patterns in the glowing fungus which were not natural.) and once we encountered and defeated a second group, we had let one of the derro go to bring back his “enemies.” .. in retrospect it was probably not the wisest of moves, but in truth, I had grown tired of having to kill defenseless captives. It was a violation of the Hunt, and in the eyes of the spirits, crossed the line between hunting and murder. The death-lands below the forest are not places for the living, and if it were up to me, I would seal up every entrance I could find and purge their locations from living memory. There is nothing down there.. but Darkness and Death.
We finally linked up with Olli’s map and after some searching were able to find an easier route through the tunnels into the known cave systems of the North. When we finally turned back to retrace our steps.. there was an ambush by several short robed creatures who used shadow to attack us led by a taller one who possessed a degree of magical skill. This battle was hard fought, as they had set an ambush which allowed them to get close undetected and attack at point blank range….
I am truly starting to loathe the Shadowlands.
After a vicious fight, we were able to defeat the Shadow creepers and continue on our way.. but we had sustained numerous poisoned injuries.. so we made our way as quickly as possible back to the keep and up into the safety of the light.