Clash at the Falls!
From the journal of Mourngrym.
I am furthest from my home back in Darquespire than I have ever been in my sixty years. Although I traveled the Darquelands extensively, learning and training, I am now finding myself as the lone Darque in this new region. I have thrown my lot in with the Wardens of Red Keep, with the original party I struck out with being no more, and their deaths being properly avenged I had two choices; either return to my homeland, defeated, or strike out on my own anew.
My skills with stealth and the blade complement the others well and there is genuine camaraderie here. It is early in our career, and we already call a keep (albeit, one on its way to ruin) our home. Now we find ourselves in the mountains, on errand for a dying Dwarf. Well, “errand” may be a strong word, are pursuits in the manner are purely mercenary.
I was surprised at first that this mountain lair was so remote and hidden, yet within only a few days travel from the lowlands. I was wrong thinking it was merely overlooked, as it turns out it is heavily guarded and it is more likely that those who stumble upon it, by chance or design, have met their demise at the end of Duergar polearms and crossbow bolts.
Squaring off against the Ogre
A narrow ledge led to a guarded entrance, manned by three of the twisted dark Dwarves, and a large Ogre, chained and subservient to its dark masters. We approached openly without threatening intent, playing the role of a mercenary band looking for work. Given that our ruse was not that far from truth, we gave the guards pause. I used the reputation of my race’s background to further intimidate the lead guard, bolstered by our stern-looking human cleric, Helkonde. He left to consult with his higher-ups, while we slyly advanced on the remaining guards, using conversation to disarm them.
Sneakin' and Stealthin'
We acted in unison, charging the last few steps between us and the guards and tore into them. They had only moments to fire their ornate crossbows, which were tossed to the ground while they drew wickedly sharp swords. The Ogre’s chain was released and the combat began in earnest. Theidifoe, the gruff Dragonborn, locked in combat with the Ogre, keeping its attacks from others who were less resilient. Helkonde raced forward to the flanked guard, engaging him with divine powers born of his god. I dispatched the remaining guard quickly, and the flame Djinasi kept his distance, utilizing spells of fire and destruction where they were needed most. As the party continued to do well against the guards, I slipped off through the gate, hearing something large closing beyond. I found a hallway and a large portcullis slammed shut within, those within tipped off to our assault. I could see the controls for the large gate beyond the portcullis, but it would be suicide trying to get it open, we need to find another way in. I returned to the party outside, who had wrapped up the combat.
Helkonde left one guard alive, and questioned him about another entrance to the mountain lair, and he directed us to the base of the waterfall, some seventy feet below us. Helkonde let him go, true to his word, but Theidifoe (not understanding the language they spoke) cut down the Duergar where he stood thinking he was escaping. I care not one way or the other, I know letting him go would just allow him to attack us later, but it was a horrible miscommunication nonetheless.
The Rogue kill-steals the Ogre
We made our way around the winding ledge, and across a gap where a bridge once stood. Had we not thought of using ropes as safety lines, we may have lost some in our party when they failed to make the distance leaping across the gap. Ahem. As we made our way down through the mist of the great falls, we came to the bottom of the ledge level with the water. If the Duergar’s words are true, the entrance he spoke of lies behind the falls themselves. We shall see.
Ben Wooten's Duergar Abduction