Trail of the Broken Spear

Above the Colossus along the Spine

The Companions made their way up into the head of the Colossus, which was, in fact, a Griffon Aerie, long abandoned by the dwarves, the griffons turned wild. It was here where Joelle found a new friend, the strongest of the griffons took her offering of meat and after hours of working, the two seemed to bond. She named him Caelius, with an attitude as strong as his name. In the stairwell, they discovered a secret doorway that Xander attempted to open, it did open, firing a multitude of crossbow bolts at everyone nearby. Boran quickly disabled the crossbows before they reset. In the room they removed the crossbows, unloaded the bolts and found several sets of dwarven mithril chainmail. Also within the room they discovered another door, this one with the handle set within a lion’s maw. Xander again tried opening the door, but stopped halfway through when Joelle stopped him, the delay worked against them as the trap was unavoidable if the door was not opened immediately after the handle was turned. Xander nearly lost his hand and would have if his bracer handled stopped the fine blade. After the door was opened and Xander healed, they decided they would explore it in the morning, leaving most of their gear. It led into a long, narrow tunnel which, after many miles, split, one branch going up, the other down. The upward branch was not long and led to the surface, somewhere along the Spine of the mountain range they were in, the other led deeper, eventually taking them into the underdark. They had barely entered the underdark when they came across a well fed, subterranean plant that did its best to make a meal of them, several members fell to the maddening effect of the plant’s spores, acting quite insanely, gaining the attention of a giant scorpion even as they fought the plant. Their light dwindling after the fight, it was decided the underdark was a bit too dangerous to try to find the dwarven city in and they’d try following the spine instead. The rest of the day was spent retracing their path to the split, going up it and breaching to the surface through the hidden door, making good headway before stumbling upon an old dwarven encampment, devoid of life, but having a few necessities to make camping easier, and more secure.

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The trip along the spine of the mountains was harrowing as the weather worsened and the group encountered a group of trolls that had just dispatched an orc patrol. They were barely able to disable the trolls long enough to burn the bodies, their healing and magicks expended, leaving them bloody and weary further along, near their goal, was an orcish village, they fell upon the village like they were possessed, their slaughter not stopping until all who opposed them had fallen, in the sudden, mist-filled hush, a wail of a lone survivor, an orcish baby in a hut could be heard. Joelle gathered the baby up before Xander could dispatch it and mounted Caelius, seeking another camp to deliver it to. By nightfall, she had found one just inside the grand front entrance of Caer Droghuun, it’s massive 60’ tall, 30’ wide doors cracked enough to let something the size of a small cart out had their campfire smoke billowing out of it, she landed and left the baby wailing by the door before taking to the air once more. They rested the night among the dead of the village, and entered the mountain once more through a cleft at the rear of the village, a hidden exit of the ancient Dwarven city. They entered and traveled miles before an opening in the tight shaft’s wall showed them a vast chasm and a long, thin bridge leading in deeper. The air was lit by a dull orange glow from the churning magma below. Guarding the bridge was a single statue sentinel, it’s partner long destroyed, with an odd, organic sword driven through it’s head. Xander leapt upon the sentinel and climb it to try to take the sword for himself, causing a spark to fire within the clockwork sentinel, it hammered at the warrior, sending him flying, driving the wind from his lungs, then ceased movement. Xander shook himself off and stood, looking up. He waved his hands in front of the thing’s unmoving face and tried climbing again, getting a grip on the sword. It reanimated again, it’s movements erratic, flailing at him, then it struck him with the hammer again, this time caving in his mithril breastplate, shattering his spine through the powerful blow to the abdomen. Xander flew off across the bridge, striking a pylon and slid down to the ground,his breath coming in ever shortening gasps, his eyes blinking, focusing at nothing in particular, during this, most of the Companions filed past the construct unmolested. Joelle ran to Xander and prayed to Tymora, asking for her mercy and leniency, touching her dying friend and mending the worst of his injuries. His eyes refocused and he swallowed weakly, “I got the sword…”

Above the Colossus along the Spine
 

The Companions passed meekly by the two sentries at the other end of the bridge, entered the stalactite that made up half the the mighty Spire of Durin, and hid the stairway to the bridge from the those who might seek it below. Unable to get Caelius into the narrow stairway, Joelle flew her mount low and landed near where he had spotted the exit from the stalagmite that had fused with the stalactite above. As she waited, Caelius alerted her to the approach of a group of goblins, snarling and gnashing their teeth as they sped along on a pack of rat-like goblin dogs. Joelle hacked and slashed her way through the pack, fighting her way free, allowing Caelius to take to wing, and the pack, mostly riderless by now, scatter to the four winds, leaving her weary and bloodied. The others emerged shortly thereafter and decided it was best they scout the nearby building and prep to rest the night. The building seemed to be a mining warehouse, with a large crane next to it and a short wagon-on-rails system for moving ore from the crane to the warehouse’s doors. Dev murmured an enchantment over the doorway to the warehouse and wrapped himself in his robes, falling asleep nearly immediately by a shelf covered in lesser, rough gemstones. They awoke to a start when the door exploded from it’s hinges, a barking whine cutting short. They heard a quickly receding scampering and found a dead goblin dog at the door. They got up later, nothing having molested them further that night, and headed towards the rhythmic thrumming sound of the dead dwarven city. They strode through a wide thoroughfare deep in dust when one noted, the dust was the remnants, long gone of bodies, supplies and more of a huge fight. If you knew what to look for, the destroyed constructs were visible everywhere amongst the bones, and other guardians sat, some covered in dust, others not as one proved, electricity flowing through it, arcing out as its arm moved suddenly, cutting a near invisible goblin in half before ceasing it’s movements again. They pressed quickly onwards, when they heard a shrill call in the alien goblin tongue off to their side coming from the deep darkness. Dust and bone exploded up from either side of Joelle, small, armored forms bursting from their concealment,getting wicked strikes through her armor. The fighting was swift and vicious, the small goblinoid foes working and moving as a team, one even providing waves of negative energy flowing over the companions, chilling them to their bones as their life essences were drained by it’s power. Xander and Dev targeted that one, cutting through it’s fine dwarven armor, silencing it before it could retreat or heal itself. The larger, bulkier goblin enforcer with the shield and the short, quick goblin eviscerator tore into Joelle and her griffon, only Joelle’s conviction and healings from her, and her griffon kept them both from dying. All the while thick, black-shafted arrows arced out of the darkness, spearing into Xander’s side, making the right side of his armor look like a porcupine’s coat, but on he fought bravely, finally cutting down the enforcer before the eviscerator darted out of sight, following the commands of the unseen goblin razer. Dev calculated the trajectory of the arrows and hurled a fireball into the darkness, feeling somewhat satisfied when he heard a squeal of pain and goblin cursing after the blast. Exhausted and badly hurt, they retreated back to the mining warehouse to rest. In the middle of their night Caelius notice the enticing smell of cooking meat. Being cautious, Lucia and Boran climbed onto the warehouse’s roof to take up sniping positions while the others, save for a grumpy Xander, came around the side of the house, spying a large, unhidden bonfire in the middle of the courtyard, with a very large Orc sitting by it, “Come,” he said in the common tongue, “Share my fire and meat.” Intrigued, they walked up, Joelle narrowed her eyes at trusting the evil orc before her, but he seemed to not be plotting anything, and went to negotiate.
“I am Lowkag Tuskbreaker, Warchief of my people. I hear you are strong, so I have come to break bread with you and offer a solution to your problems, as well as our own.”

Above the Colossus along the Spine
Tanarus

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