Journal Entry: War of the Lance
Entry Date: 2/9/2003
Day 30 - December 9-10, 351AC
A great celebration was held in honor of the noble and deadly quest. Even Locar's spirits seemed to be raised by this good news and preparations were under way to make contact with the dwarves. Meanwhile, Laurana cried over the death of her beloved Tanis, oblivious to the reassurances of an old wizard that things were not always as dark as they seemed. She decided than that it was her task to pick up where Tanis left off and see his mission and his work continued. In the morning she would take up her sword and march to Thorbardin with the other heroes.
The celebration lasted late into the night, but finally Elistan called together the Council of Freedom and the heroes. The wave of popularity for the party and their heroism had catapulted Elistan to the head of the Council and silenced the words of Locar.
After asking Gilthanas to bring him a flagon of mead, Elistan began to speak. He congratulated the heroes on their success and bid them to hurry on to the gates, and that he would do what he had to do. Raising his flagon in a toast, Elistan drank, shuddered, and collapsed.
Caramon was first to rise to his aid. Checking him quickly, he declared him dead. Others checked and agreed. Tika sniffed at the flagon, but it smelled normal. Several cast accusing glances at Gilthanas. No one was brave enough to taste the mead. Finally Raistlin, who had been watching with interest but not taken any action, was asked for his input. He cast a simple spell and declared that magic was involved, but that it was divine and he could not tell more.
With nothing to do but move on, they began to discuss what they would do come morning. The dragonarmies were close and several wanted to bring the refugees with them to the gates, but others debated that the last thing they needed was to bring an army to Thorbarden and that they should wait until they had secured passage through the Dwarven kingdom. They lamented that Tanis was not here to make the decision.
At that moment, Fizban wondered into the Council, leading Tanis and Goldmoon. Tika leapt up and threw her arms around the old mage, hugging and kissing the blushing wizard in thanks for "saving" her friends. Fizban was immediately asked if he, being a great wizard could tell anything of the spell that had taken Elistan.
Fizban sat next to Elistan and gestured and muttered and declared that Elistan was just tired and had fallen asleep. He then, to the horror of all, picked up Elistans flagon and drank deeply from it. Wrinkling his nose, he complained that it was the worst ale he'd ever tasted. They explained to him it was mead.
Raistlin, eyeing the mage with some suspicion, suggested that they follow the old wizard's advice and keep Elistan safe in his tent until they could learn more. They would investigate the possibility of blocking the passes between the refugees and the dragonarmies in the morning on the way to Thorbarden.
Day 31 - December 10, 351AC
As they slept, they dreamed. A door, Elistan's voice. They followed the voice to a tower which decayed as they approached. Entering the tower, they awoke in a cold sweat, remembering only that something terrible had taken place within.
Several of the heroes got up and soon they realized they had all shared the same dream. They debated it's meaning. Elistan had said he had left something behind and to bring it to him. This seamed to bear out the theory that he wasn't really dead, but what did he mean. Some thought it meant his body, other's the disks of Mishakal.
As they argued, Carmon looked east to where the sun was just breaking to horizon. Emerging from the glare of the sun was a shadow. As it grew closer and larger, it became apparent that it was a dragon! Caramon broke into the argument with a shout of alarm, but by this time, the fast moving dragon had swept over the camp, circle the heroes. On her back was the dragon highlord.
A few heroes drew weapons, but several were captured in the power of his magic, entranced by his words. Hey remembered their dreams, and Verminaard gloated of their failures in the "Mind of Evil" and his own great victories. He gave them one last chance to join them.
Tas was the one to respond, shouting at the top of his lungs "But you're evil!!" That said it all. The heroes rejected Verminaard's offer. Verminaard called them fool's and bid them continue their fool's quest. Before it was finished, he promised, they would kneel before him and die. The dragon flew away.
Suddenly, moving the refugees became more urgent. With the dragon armies only a few miles away, and clearly they now knew where the refugees were. Tanis, Riverwind, and Fizban headed off at once to try and block the pass between the dragonarmies and the refugees. Fizban tried using his magic to create a clap of thunder, but all he got was a steel drum. Riverwind took to beating the drum and the crashing sounds it produced caused an avalanche that would take a long time to get past.
The rest of the party started south along the river, with the refugees bringing up the rear. Moving quickly to blaze a trail and hopefully find the gates before the refugees caught up, the heroes traveled south and then up into the mountains for four hours. Now, at nearly noontime, they came out of a steep defile and onto a narrow ledge. The map showed the gates should be near here, so Tas began carefully scrutinizing the cliff face. He had moved about a hundred feet out when he finally found a crack that was too straight, extending from the ledge, up well out of his reach.
Tas called back his discovery. By now, Tanis' group had caught up and Fizban pushed through the crowd. He announced loudly that he could open it. He walked past Tas, directly in from of the massive, hidden door and began casting. Tas, backed away from the door to avoid being hit when it opened. Fizban finished his spell and a fireball exploded where he had been standing.
Fiery debris fell from the cliff face and with a rumble, the door began to strain. Suddenly it broke free, pushing out to the edge of the ledge and continued to slowly open. Finally, with a groan and crack of machinery, the door broke free and fell down the cliff face.
Tasslehoff was horrified by this tragedy, but quickly got over it, wanting to see what a dwarven city looks like. Beyond the gate was a broad hall, passing into the darkness of the mountain. The floor was littered with the cast off equipment and skeletons of the Dwarfgate War. The party proceeded inside about a hundred yards before turning back.
Within a couple hours, the refugees caught up. The heroes had anchored ropes along the ledge to help the refugees make their way to the gate. The entire population was brought inside to camp in the first hall. A watch was set to guard the entrance. The party set up a defense to guard the ledge, figuring even an inexperience force could hold a five foot wide ledge against assault. If dragons were spotted, the refugees would retreat into the mountain. Meanwhile, just in case, watches were also set looking inwards, in case the Mountain Dwarves became aware of the refugees and tried to push them out.
Chapter 15: The North Gate of the Dwarves
As evening closed in, everything was set. The party headed into the mountain. Deciding to stick to the main avenue, they passed several hundreds yards into the abandoned city. As they reached a temple area, a group of dwarves stepped out of the darkness and confronted them, demanding to know their business.
Flint stepped forward to do the talking, trying to assure to stern looking dwarf leader that they meant no harm. The mountain dwarf responded with venom to the "Neidar," but Flint gritted his teeth against the implied insult and negotiated.
Arman Kharas was not impressed with their children's tales of dragons and healing, but did offer that if they assisted him in his current mission, he would take them before his father to have the matter decided. He warned them that they were in the kingdom of the Theiwar and word was passed back to the refugees to warn them.
Arman then introduced himself and led the party into the mountain. They soon came to the great chamber known as Anvil's Echo. A bridge spanned the chasm, and they crossed. Before they had gone far, Tas called them up short. Something about the railing ahead looked wrong to him. He threw a stone at it.
Suddenly, Strands were flung out from the posts which stepped onto the bridge, and snared one of the dwarf soldiers. Sturm rushed forward and cut the strands with his sword, but the dwarf collapsed. Arrows flew and warriors charged forward.
As the battle raged, Raistlin moved near the rail and called on his friends to "clear the rail." The party, continuing to fight, maneuvered around the creatures and away form the rail. As they did, Raistlin spoke powerful words of magic and lightning leapt from his fingers, catching the two creatures.
The battle continued to rage and two of the dwarves were literally eaten. More lightening and another deafening blast of thunder echoed. One of the creatures fell. Raistlin backed off, coughing and resting from the exertion. The warriors continued to fight, finally bringing down the second creature.
Arman was wounded and Goldmoon went to him. With her divine power his wounds were healed and he looked upon the party with new respect. "Dragons did you say?"
Arman saw to his wounded and dead and led the party further into the mountain. Coming off the bridge, they passed through the King's Wall Gate and into a grand hall. There, they encountered a large group of Theiwar. Arman called for the party to run and fled east. The rest followed, with Caramon and Sturm taking up rear guard. Their flight led to a Trandport shaft. Arman and the other dwarves leapt agilely, obviously having practiced this a lot, and begin to descend. The heroes all followed, but most ended up dangling awkwardly from the chains and some were injured. Gilthanas missed the chain and fell. Only the nets at the bottom of the shaft, meant to protect the machinery from any falling debris, saved his life. They doubled back now, again heading north. Crossing through Anvil's Echo on the ground this time, they came to one of Thorbardin's mighty smithies, now long abandoned. The prison was on the far side of this block. Arman and Flint moved ahead to scout. They were lucky and found Pick quickly and without encountering the guards who were stationed on the far side of the block.
They made good their escape and took the First Road of the Thanes. It was long abandoned. After a couple miles, they came to another small city called the North Hall of Justice. The city was also abandoned, but a detachment of Theiwar defended it.
The battle took place amongst the pillars of the great hall. Forty derro attacked with crossbows. Outnumbered, the heroes used the pillars to close to melee range and engaged to inexperienced defenders. Sturm, Caramon Riverwind and Arman rushed the derro. These great warriors easily defeated the more numerous dwarves. Arman was relieved when the final derro fled that their had not been a savant amongst them.
They passed through the Hall of Justice and back onto the First Road of the Thanes. This took them south, still deeper. Soon they came into a large cavern. It was dimly lit by the final rays of the western sun shining down from great crystals in the cavern ceiling. Arman and Flint continued to bandy back and forth about the War, both firm in their position that the other was in the wrong.
It was very late when the party finally came to the Guardian Hall. Arman put them all up in a nice inn. Some of them asked where to nearest Temple of Reorx was and went to pray.
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