After an extended rest, we left the tent haded north east away from the nervous, prying eyes of the uncomfortable black Dragonborn tribe. Eventually we returned to the fork marked by the acid creek.
We headed eastward. The caverns were dark and dead silent. The air was no longer cloudy, but slightly hazy. Fumes seemed to flow off the surface of the rock. All we heard was the cacophonic silence. After about an hour of walking, the sound of flowing water started to fill the air. As we drew nearer, the dripping, running water grew louder, sounding like a small waterfall.
The path opened up to a tall, wide cavern. Ahead of us, the river of green acid continued, dividing the room. To the east, a small waterfall flowed from a crack in the wall about 20 feet up, near the ceiling, and fells into a deep recession in the stone floor. To the south west, we noticed a portion of the cave was completely flat and a lighter shade of stone. But dead ahead of us, lying atop a raised portion of the floor and strewn across the surrounding stone was a massive plethora of spider webbing. Sitting in the middle of it was a large black cloud of shadow. Dripping from this breathing miasma of darkness was the source of the acid. The caustic fumes began to sting our eyes and hurt our lungs.
1 Blackspawn Gloomweb (1,000xp, MM1)
After quickly putting down the wretched beast, Ana Bella recognized the illusion of the wall for what it is. Stepping through, she entered a smaller antechamber. Piled in the middle of the room was thousands of coins, the majority of which were copper with some others sprinkled in.
Meanwhile, the rest of us investigated the pool. Ten feet below ground level was the surface of the water, though we could not see how deep it was or what was down there. Morigan cracked a sunrod and tossed it down. It sank slowly, eventually hitting the bottom, revealing s flat stone floor that headed off northward.
Once again, Ana Bella stepped up, taking in deep breathes and stretching fro her descent. Many dives later, she was able to pull up many large chests filled with delicious items for the team. Other than lots of gold, we received a Skull Mask, a Headband of Perception (Tal), Luckbender Gloves (Ana Bella), a +1 Sunblade Longsword (Gavail), and a +2 Dwarven Thrower Hammer (Marek).
Done with this path, we returned to the beginning of the cart tracks, where we first entered this mine/cave system. It was a long trek, but we made it back to the beginning and eyed the path that headed off to the south east.
The track winded downwards at a slight descent wile precariously perched on the wall of the gorge. The metal was twisted and rotting, preventing the effective use of a cart. Though shaky, it seemed to support our weight, albeit with a groan underfoot. After about an hour of traveling through the dark, the track made a sharp turn upwards. The ascent was steep and required more climbing than walking.
Eventually, the path leveled out and we were once again descending at a steady rate. The wooden slats were more sporadic in their placement now, and the rot was more saturated. With a loud snap, a large portion broke underfoot. Most of use caught ourselves, but Morigan was not as lucky.
She landed with a sickening THUNK. The channel into which she had fallen was about 10 feet wide and the slippery, rough cavern walls rose into the darkness. As she began to make her way up the wall, she noticed a strange crack running up the wall. About 10 feet above the ground, it widened dramatically to about 10 feet apart, creating an orifice leading deep into the earth. From below, she pointed it out to us and told us to head down, for it must be the location of which the old Dragonborn had spoken about.
After reaching the hole in the wall of the ravine, we stood up and struggled to gain a sure footing. We could tell this path would be very uncomfortable to traverse for it was not mined nor weathered. Continuing on, after thirty minutes of winding, climbing, and crawling, in the stillness of the air, we began to hear slight cracking and chirping sounds, which Tal had identified as Kruthiks. Another 10 minutes further down the cleft; we felt slight electricity in the air tickling the hairs on our arms and neck. The air started to smell of clay and feces- both sweet and repulsive at the same time. Finally, we reached a turn where the strange sounds and smells were so close that we could feel them to be on the other end of the bend. We all had the feeling that something powerful laid within spitting distance.
As we turned the bend, the room opened up into a gigantic geode- purple and green crystals lined the wall. The floor was flattened: stone so smooth it was nearly reflective. Sharp crystalline stalactites hung precariously above a 10-foot wide teardrop-shaped green stone in the middle of the room. “By the Primordials, it’s an Earth Node,” whispered Manganese. Looking closer, we saw the glint of thick veins of gold running along the surface of the stone and many small metallic items firmly stuck to it. It seemed to pulsate with a faint golden glow. As if entranced by it, we saw seven large Kruthiks standing around it in a semicircle touching it with their mandibles.
1 Kruthik Hive Lord (L)(500xp, MM1)
6 Kruthik Adults (175xp, MM1)
Magnetic Earth Node (400xp, Hazard)
Embedded waist deep into the egg-shaped mystical stone was a glorious suit of plate armor. It was made of the same ore whose veins snaked through the stone in which it resided. It was covered with beautifully detailed repoussé of the symbols of the Tormish church and the Triad. The books spoke the truth- the armor of Feril Bilikin had indeed returned to the strange ore from which it had come. Its power was undeniable- just by being near it our nerves tingled and our muscles twitched. Also attached to the stone were many coins and magical trinkets.
As we drew nearer, it seems to glow as a reaction to our presence. Over a month later and nearly 200 miles away from home; our search for Torm’s Armor had ended.
“I can mine this, I think,” said Manganese after the final Kruthik fell down dead. “It’ll take a while, but I have the tools here. Give me a few hours; I should have it free by tomorrow night. Just keep the area clear and I’ll see what we can salvage from this earth node without destroying the sanctity of the site. Besides, once we get back to Airspur, if you stick around, I’ll give you some money from the ore sales.”
Alas, your epic journey across the wastes of lands that were ravaged by the merging of the two worlds. You have fought long and hard to find this artifact, often brushing closely with death. But your battles with band are still just beginning.