The Horned Hold, Part I

Magnus likes to finish them off

(Uriondir was unusually quiet.)

The party, fully rested from their previous travails, share an ale or three with Rendil Halfmoon. Rendil offers some more information about the slavers and the Duergar. After breakfast, the party decides to split up to follow a few leads. Magnus and Aidan went to visit Gendar. The drow had suggested earlier that he had a job for our heroes, and offers information and a guide to the Horned Hold if the party will return to him some stolen property in the form of a skull scepter. Magnus and Aidan tentatively agree.

Meanwhile, Gideon and Omac use their skill at stealth to reconnoiter the Duergar trading post. Unfortunately, they see nothing unusual and report back to the others. The entire party then visits the trading post to glean what they can, which is not much. The Duergar are suspicious of surface-dwellers and, after a brief and fairly fruitless exchange, the party leaves. Aidan stops to buy a few throwing hammers from Dreskin the Provisioner, a wheedling little man who would sell his grandmother if he saw profit in it.

Provisioned and with few other leads, the party meats up with their guide at the entrance of the Road of Shadows. He is a hooded goblinoid who does not speak much. The path to the Horned Hold is not marked, but after a few hours the guide shows them a side tunnel that he says leads them to their destination. He then withdraws into the shadows.

The party carefully makes their way through the tunnel until it opens into a larger chamber, showing the Hold is several structures on both sides of a wide, deep chasm. The only way in is a single locked gate guarded by several Orcs, who spot our heroes and take a few potshots at them. Out of options, the party rushes the door. Crossbow bolts and spearheads come out, arrows from Gideon’s bow head in. Omac quickly picks the lock, however, and the party rushes in. It’s not really a fair fight and, except for one of Aidan’s newly-purchased hammers shattering on contact, the Orc berserkers never really had a chance.

Beyond the doors is obviously some sort of smithy or workshop. After exploring some of the other adjoining rooms and finding neither enemies or slaves, the party rushes in. They surprise the creatures within and kill the smith before he can even raise his hammer. His two orc workers are quickly dispatched but two duergar scouts are able to turn invisible and escape the party. In one of the adjoining rooms the party finds the skull scepter that Gundar wished retrieved.

Opting not to cross the bridge over the chasm to the other part of the hold, the party decides to pursue the escaped scouts. The corridor leads them to a large room where the duergar were waiting to attack. Battle ensued, and our heroes out-thought and out-fought their opponents.

After the battle they were able to free three thralls-Arum, Bessa, and Calder-who are from Fallcrest. They were very grateful to be freed but do not want to risk the labyrinth alone. Unfortunately, they are not the Riverdown captives, but Arum knows of some new slaves on the other side of the hold. So the party found a seldom-used storeroom to hole up. After they rest they intend to clear out the rest of the hold.



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