A Fistful of Coppers

Into Earthfast

Nightal 8, 1482
As I sit here writing, Carric is attaching a rope between a big defaced (literally, the statue is missing its face) dwarven statue and the knob of the door he and Starch are trying to block shut. It looks like a big spider web. I suppose it will do the trick. If I listen hard enough, between their debate about the rope, I can almost make out the muffled screaming of the duegar they left in the room down the hall. It’s been quite an interesting journey thus far. I should start at the beginning.
We got here easy enough this morning. Well, easy enough because we had Delwyn with us. He was like a lost ship to a lighthouse. Somehow he knew exactly where to go. As if he’d been here before, but had no recollection of it. We followed no path, but the route we took was direct, exact, and showed no sign of having been traveled for a very long time.
Once we entered the complex, it became clear how massive it was. I’m not really sure if we are currently in a gatehouse of sorts, that will open up into a vast dwarven city, or if we are in fact, already there; the city being located under the ground.
As we initially moved through the complex, it became clear that the only way to go was locked. Beau had somehow managed to wander off, and it was quite comical watching Delwyn and Starch rattle the locked portcullis in their vain attempt to open it. Carric was standing behind them muttering the word “friend,” I think it was in elfish, and I think he expected something to happen with the lock, but I’m not sure what, and nothing obviously happened. I’d picked up a few lock-picking skills in my travels and was able to pop the lock fairly easily once everyone else had tried. Who needs Beau?
We moved easily through several rooms. They appeared to be empty barracks, lavatories, storerooms and the like. We found two lockboxes and had yet to find Beau, the first opened easily, the second not so much. The poison needle bit painfully and delivered quite a punch, knocking me on my ass….who needs Beau indeed. After that, I told Carric he was in charge of locks until Beau showed back up. As we were discussing where he’d possibly gotten off to, three gray skinned dwarves appeared out of nowhere. Literally, like, they were invisible and materialized in the room with us and attacked.
Between the surprise and the poison, I was fairly useless, but I think they all keep me around from my pleasant conversation skills, and the rest of the group made short work of the duegar. That’s what Delwyn said they were. Duegar. A race of dark dwarves. They can turn invisible, grow twice their size, dislike magic users and white skinned dwarves. We found this note in one of the rooms we had searched through.
They don’t tell us anything.
We’ve been posted here on guard duty for three weeks now, with no sign of furlough. The longest I’ve ever been here before this was two days. They don’t tell us anything, but we hear things.

The rumor is that a battle is going on in the mines. Word is we’ve been posted here not only to keep people out of the city, but to keep whatever’s in there from escaping. It must be bad, but they don’t tell us anything.
I don’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved.

We rested for a bit after that and then continued to the next locked door. One that I refused to touch with a ten foot pole. So Delwyn and Starch used their combined arm strength and brain power to hammer the door down. I think they must have announced our presence to the whole complex, because once the door was open and we headed down the hallway, we were face to face with what seemed like 100 duegar.

I don’t remember how, but the party got split. My spell was resisted and 5 of the 6 gray dwarves that were supposed to be spelled ended up chasing Xiang and I while the rest of the party was in a side room. As the two of us were retreating, I tripped over Beau! For once I was pleased to look into the glassy eyed stare of our micro-mini-murder-machine,and the three of us dispatched the duegar infesting the hallway and made it back to our friends.

Starch had somehow managed to take one of the little monsters alive and was attempting unsuccessfully to threaten some information from him, using Delwyn as a translator. Not wanting to interrupt the wonder twin’s fun, I moved out into the hallway with Carric to keep watch while they water boarded the gray dwarf.

We found a storeroom that hadn’t been raided and continued to move down the hallway away from Starch and Delwyn. Beau and Xiang headed through a kitchen and we met on the other end. I guess Delwyn and Starch just left the gray dwarf and caught up to us because we were all back together again in the next room.

This one was the one I’m sitting in now. Two stone statues of dwarves flanked the far door. Carric and Delwyn moved in to investigate and five more duegar materialized out of nowhere. Again, with a bit of a struggle we made short work of them. Delwyn was flipping around the room like a dwarven river dancer and not to be outdone, Starch had some sharp moves of his own. Poor Carric’s spells kept failing him. I need to ask Delwyn if duegar have some ability to deplete a person’s magical ability.

So anyway, here we are. Beau found another note in the other room and shared it with us.

The men are changing.

We’ve been cooped up in this fortress for over four years. Our food supply is low, even with us organizing hunting and foraging parties to scour the cavern and beyond. Although in truth, the men will not venture outside of the cavern anymore. All they bring back are toadstools and vermin.
Worry and lack of sleep have left the men a pallid gray in color. Tempers are on edge, mine included if I’m being truthful. Flintfire found that out the hard way when he suggested we flee our posts and make for the lands outside the cavern.
We didn’t even take the trouble to bury him after, just threw him down the chasm. I don’t expect we’ll have any more suggestions to abandon our duty.
After Beau read out loud, I questioned Delwyn some more. I figured duegar were like what a drow is to an elf, but Delwyn says no, that sometimes if the situation is right, dwarves like him can turn into duegar. I’m still reeling from that bit of information. Note to self, keep an eye on Delwyn. Never know what could happen if we keep him out of the sun for too long.
So here we sit, preparing to rest. I can definitely hear that guy hollering now…well attempting to holler, he’s kinda muffled. Wonder how Starch’s going to handle that one, since Beau wants to kill the guy. Should make for an interesting evening!

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