The party returns to the temple of Morradin , in the town of Hadleys Hope, for the night, to rest, to tend wounds and to plan. Knocking the dirt and ash from their boots, clothes doused in the cloying smells of smoke and charred flesh, they cross the consecrated hearthstone into the carved stone walls of the church.
The thick stone walls seem to swallow most sounds made, shadows coalesce in the peripheral, forming shapes of drow striking, quickly fleeing as heads are turned. These, combined with the slightly stale, musty air and meagre enchanted lighting gives the place more than just a little touch of ‘tomb’ than some of them might care to admit. Bunk down areas are assigned, watch rotations organised, rations distributed, and, soon enough, as people sit and try to relax, a deep silence falls over the church.Small showers of dust fall occasionally from the rafters, visual evidence of earth tremors, too minor to be felt, except here, with a lack of anything to distract the attention. They seem to occur at random intervals, never with any great strength, but just enough to keep the dwarf off kilter, a long entrenched racial warning signal constantly being triggered.
He spends most of the night roaming and muttering, poking around in random corners.
Scraping noises occasionally punctuate the silence as Norad lightly ( and later Ihsahn, not so lightly) moves vantage point on the roof as long distance watchman.Shadows brow is furrowed, his lips move silently as he takes advantage of the first real chance to study the spell book he found at the drow spider temple, and try to fathom what changes where wrought on his staff at the same.
A conversation is started, about whether to head straight towards the silhouette of the mothership Sulaco in the distance, or to examine the last remaining unexplored area on the local map, just to the south of Hadleys Hope, but no satisfactory answer is reached.
The church is the tallest building in the villiage, but, as it is a dwarven village. that isnt saying much. Even the highest point here only gives you a decent veiw of the surrounding area, and back the way you came, but any veiw northish ( which is the direction of the mothership Sulaco ( which is what i’m assuming you meant)) is obscured by more rock/boulder formations.
The highest nearby position seems to be a small mountain to the west you passed on your way into the village ( the small unexplored area left on the map). Looking from where you are on the church roof, you reckon that that point would get you a decent veiw all the way up to the Sulaco.
Isahn begins to speak "Brothers, this reminds me of the story from my homeland of legend of Abbath’s siege of Count Grisnackh’s Keep. Then as now having a clear understanding of your enemy’s forces is key. We should wander into the den of the Spider Mother, this Twice Named Queen, unprepared and unaware.
Norad, Johnny can see you a path that would get us to that peak safely and discretely?"Thul Spends most of his night before the alter to Moradin. Muttering in his native tongue. Add the odd tremor interval talking at who ever will listen.
“These blasted Drow have all the skill of a goblin with a hangover. The little mechanical beasties toiling away may get the job done of ripping the ore from the ground. But what skill do they have of keeping the earth stable!. Even a worm considers its path. Nay these beasts will destroy the whole moon and all its treasure with it!”
Time passes again and Thul produces a bottle of the long forgotten Dwarven ale on the alter and lights some incense. “if it’s a clear direction ye want to our course of action. Then let it be the commander of battle himself Clangeddin !
As Ihsahn and Norad cross paths on the curchs rooftop for watch change, Norad points out a path his keen elvish eyes have made out going up the side of the hill to the west. To Ihsahn , it looks to be made of the same random collection of different sized rocks and boulders as most of the others on this planet, but the conviction in Norads voice and description quells any doubts in his mind.
- as a size reference, the mountain top landing ground you began on was about, even cut flat, about a mile high,if not a little more, with the majority of the walls surrounding the mapped area about as tall as this. (look up the worlds tallest building, and double it.) The mountin you are looking at now is a fraction of the size of this, but still one of the highest points around ( comparable to mount lofty).
But, no matter how high you have been, the relative small size of the planet has limited your viewable distance due to the curvature of the planet*
Thul kneels in prayer for hours through out the night. Quietly chanting resting then waking only to drink eat then his deep prayer. It’s a ritual familiar to his companions. His friends stare at him waiting for him to say something and finally his eyes glow with golden divine light.
“Gods of my people I call Clangeddin Silverbeard the rock of battle for guidance. Lord I offer you this bottle of mead crafted by the souls this motley crew of warriors seeks to avenge. To exact our peoples vengeance I ask you. What do we need to give the edge and achieve glory in battle against the Drow Queen on Eldorado.”
Minutes blend to hours as you weave your augury, beseeching your gods to hear, and answer, your question. Your companions become mere after-thoughts as you concentrate on your ritual.
Your surroundings slowly dim as you extend your consciousness out to the ether, searching your pantheon for the target of your question. You slowly become aware of the smell of burning coal filling your nostrils, furnace fire heat flowing over your face in waves, and the sound of dwarven voices laughing, talking, and singing in time with the ring of hammer on anvil filling your ears. This is Dwarvehome, Morradins realm, but the answer to your question does not lie here.
Extending out further, the concussive sounds of hammer on anvil is replaced with that of battle axe on shield, the sound of boot-clod feet marching, and the voices singing become that of drill sergeants calling instructions and commands. Here is the celestial training ground of the Lord of the Twin Axes, Clangeddinn, and where you will find your answer.
You ask your question over the din that only you can hear, startling your team mates. They see your eyes glaze over into a hundred yard stare, listening for words meant only for you, possibly even straining their own ears to hear what you hear. There is no response for a second, no noise but the rasping of scratched whiskers, and the low mutterings of someone in deep thought, considering all possibilities.
After a couple of deep, measured breaths, a deep voice utters these words –
‘The path you have been treading, and the one you are about to set out upon, is the righteous one, so do not waver. Along this path, near at hand, you will find a tribute to the one whose legacy you defended. Within it is his blood, set in stone. Free his blood and an edge will be found. But, as on any battlefield, a sword smith can only sharpen a blade so much, it is up to the warrior to wield it. Now, go my son, you have work to be done.
The sounds of battle slowly fade from your ears, your eyes focus, and you are back at the altar to Morradin, in the church in Hadley’s Hope, under a starless sky, on an alien planet, far from home. The ghostly touch of an encouraging hand at your back, a hand you know to be of Morradin himself, lingers for a minute, as you start to look ahead.
Thul ’We are not yet done my brothers. We are missing something. A stone unturned."
Ishan " A sword? A blade, some sort of legendary Dwarven weapon perhaps?"
Thul " I feel im seeking a forge. Bring the map."
Eventually Thuls ritual finishes, and he takes a heavy nose dive into his sleep back and begins to snore louder then his ritual, head down, arse up, and doesn’t move for 6 hours.
Apart from this, the church descends into relative quiet for a few hours, until what passes for morning for your own internal clocks comes. You seem to know yourselves that only a matter of days has passed since you entered this lightless realm, but the time itself seems to have slipped and stretched, and your arrival on the mountain top landing area could have been weeks ago.
You slowly all awaken, grab collect your gear, and meet around the main altar in the middle of the church to plan your next steps.