Naram thinks that the history of the dwarven lands inscribed on the sarcophagus will take a considerable time to decipher. He taps on the block, reaching out a crystalline hand and banging his fist. It sounds solid.
Red and blue shield of energy still surrounds the statue of the Dwarf. There is no heat, but it is as if it is covered in flame.
Ilwyn throws a piece of scrap metal from his thief’s tools at the statue’s head. It hits the aura, then fizzes and falls to the ground. The statue’s eyes light up and in a booming voice it intones four words in Dwarven. No one can make out what they are so Naram performs a ritual to understand the foreign words.
The ritual done, Naram bids Ilwyn throw another piece of metal at the statue. It speaks again and Naram now understands its speech. It says: ‘This door is closed’
Naram replies in broken dwarven, ‘How may I open the door?’
The statue replies: ‘The first made me. None shall pass but those who honour the fallen. The tomb is closed to those who do not follow The Way.’
Naram does not know what The Way is, but starts to study the text on the sarcophagus. Ilwyn and Enna help. Enna spots a pattern that might be an incantation and draws it to the other’s attention. Naram looks and sees that it is a passage that refers to the dwarven gods. Within this part of the text that talks about the ‘Dwarven Way’.
Sensing that Naram’s researches might take a while, the rest of the party starts to rest.
Only Enna does not sleep or trance. Rather she helps Naram, looking for copies of the phrases about the ‘Dwarven Way’. She determines there are three parts to ‘The Way’ but cannot find any more information than that.
What she determines is that the first part of the dwarven way is something about the name of the first maker. The second part is about an honour secret to the dwarves. The third part is a symbol or genuflection or gesture.
Under Naram’s direction Enna points out the symbol mentioned in the third part and spots a corner where the gesture is described. He determines that this is a deep bow from the waist whilst twirling one’s beard. The text gives a detailed description of the manoeuvre.
With further study of the text, Naram also discovers the first part is the legend of how the first dwarfs were carved from stone when the world was young.
Naram soon figures the second part that identifies the secret honour. It is described as ‘Release us through honour from the fear of the dark’. It is honour that allows the dwarves to stand in the tunnels and mines against the monsters and horrors there.
Naram ponders a while, asking Enna to give him some insight on the religious aspects of the puzzle. He soon realizes that the three parts need to be performed in a particular order. The honour is to be spoken first, followed by the response, then completed by the bow.
Naram stands and faces the statue and performs ‘The Way’ in his fractured Dwarvish.
‘The nameless one carved me from stone when the world was young,’ he says. The blue energy on the stone dwarf glows brighter and then fades, leaving only the red flames.
The he performs the honouring, saying: ‘Release me through honour from the fear of the dark’. At this the statue’s red energy glows and fades.
Finally Naram performs the bow from the waist and mimes the beard twirl. He holds the bow long and slow.
This done, the statue comes to life again, eyes glowing. Then it steps one step to the side, leaving the stone door unmasked.
Naram puts his hand upon the door. As he does so the statue’s eyes glow and it says: ‘For what I must do I am sorry, but I cannot allow elves and goblins to pass.’ It raises its axe and attacks.
Now that the thing is animate, Haleth recognises it as a dwarven treasure golem. A very tough opponent.
The party charges, with Caecius and Haleth in the vanguard. The Dwarf is knocked down. Enna dances in furiously and thuds four arrows in rapid succession into the golem, cracking its clay.
The Dwarf construct gets up, its eyes aglow. It releaes a magic that does something to people’s hearts, trying to make their greed overwhelm them. Most of the golem’s victims resist, but Enna is dominated by it.
Then the golem roars, turning into a swarm of flying stone fragments that reassembles next to Naram. It reforms slowly, so that for a while it is insubstantial. Naram teleports out of the way and tries to distract the treasure golem with an anomaly.
Enna, now dominated, fires an arrow at Ilwyn. Caecius slashes at her in defense, cutting her. However, Enna’s arrow finds its mark against the goblin. Moments later, her head clears and she realises with regret what she has done.
Caecius then uses his grasping spear against the still-insubstantial statue to grab it. Haleth surges forward, using his bedevilling assault to hurt the golem. Then Ilwyn rains more blows. But against the reforming creature it is like fighting fog. Nevertheless, the golem is clearly hurt.
Naram’s swirling, psychic anomaly envelops the Dwarf construct and dazes it. The object tries to dominate Haleth this time and succeeds, stopping the fighter in his tracks. Then it slams Haleth, knocked him briefly off his feet. The dominated Haleth gets up and strikes at Caecius.
Meanwhile, Ilwyn jumps off the wall and slashes at the statue, knocking it prone. It tries to break free of Caecius’s grab. It succeeds, hurling Caecius and Ilwyn through the air.
Picking himself up, Caecius directs Enna’s shot, which hits the construct and digs deep into it. Haleth, having shaken off the effects of the golem’s domination, launches a tide of iron against the creature.
Ilwyn makes a great leap across the chamber. He lands next to the golem, makes a deft strike and cuts a lump off it. Haleth supports the attack with a strike that makes a solid hit. Naram’s psychic anomaly follows-up and dazes the construct, dropping it to the ground.
From the floor the golem strikes back at Haleth and Ilwyn, doing little damage but inviting more blows from the fighter. Enna steps lightly in and strikes at the heart of the construct, dealing a telling shot. The golem is now so badly injured that it goes berserk, striking out at the heroes next to it, connecting with Ilwyn and knocking him back.
Ilwyn gets up and rushes back, deftly striking the monster, finishing it off. It’s head is knocked off and its body crumbles into a pile of rubble. The centre block glows.
Everyone take a rest after fighting the epically constructed creature. The centre block is inscribed with the rune ‘K’. It is the heart of the golem. Naram estimates that it is highly valuable.
Having rested the party slowly pushes open the door the golem was guarding.
In the room beyond four magically lit braziers occupy the corners. They roar with a flame that circles around a central square. It is a barrier of superheated cinders and incandescent heat. In the centre and surrounded by a red aura is the mummified form of a dwarf, stood on eternal guard. At its feet sits a coffin.
Naram looks down and can see more words carved in the stone at the feet of the heroes.
Beneath the earth
prove thy claim
at the last
speak my name
Four verses follow:
You were taken First In Cold and Dark Burned by Flame As the second Mark
You breathed my Third Where you did part My ancient form From stoneclad heart
Carved deep inside I placed my last My hidden name Forgotten past
These four remember Who I am In blood soaked pool Where it began
Ilwyn, sharp as a razor, quickly figures out the riddle and says ‘Drek’. On saying the words the Mummy seems to speak.
‘Who disturbs Drek from his slumber?’ The mummy says. ‘Has darkness descended once again? Are you here to rob the tomb?’
‘No,’ says Ilwyn, though he cannot stop himself from asking the mummy what its deathly possessions are.
The Mummy shrugs. ‘Do not dishonour my tomb by taking my grave goods. The curse of a thousand dwarves will fall upon your houses. It was goblins that betrayed me with their greed, long ago.’
‘Those were my ancestors,’ says Ilwyn. ‘I don’t represent them.’
Then the goblin lies. ‘I was brought up a Dwarf,’ he says.
At this, Drek responds: ‘Long long ago I stood by the goblins before it went wrong. It brings back memories I’d long forgotten; memories of when we fought together.’
At this, Naram steps forward to ask the mummy about the shard that may destroy the world.
Drek seems gripped by great sorrow.
‘The shard you say. I had long forgotten it,’ it says. ‘The goblins stole it from me. The shard was once the strength and power of my house when we stood against the darkness.’
Naram tells Drek he wants to recover it to prevent it being used for bad purposes. However, the mummy seems to have something else on its mind.
‘Tell me,’ it says, ‘many years have long gone. Are the tales of the Tide of Blood still spoken?’
‘Yes,’ says Naram. ‘The story is still known and so is your heroic death.’
‘Would you hear more of the tale?’ says Drek. His voice is almost whispery. Naram nods that he would.
’Ah, the Tides of Blood. So that legend is still told? The world was young, I sense that many thousands of years have passed since I swung an axe in the dawn of the world. Ere long its tranquility was disturbed by those who would hunger for the light. Those who would drink the blood of the fallen simply to take it from those who were blessed of the gods.
’It fell to me, in small part, to stand. My house was in fragments, my stronghold scattered to the seven winds by the incursions. We knew not why, but undead forces were leeching to this world from what you call the shadowfell, to us the dishonourable darkness. Not the usual hatred and mindlessness of energy stuck between worlds, but driven by a hunger for some passage to our world.
‘The remaining dwarf elders sought to close the closeness of the worlds, and made for me an axe. One to unite my people, those fragments that had not blown on the wind and stood short and proud against the enemy. It was powered by the shard, a fragment of that most ancient of artifacts imbedded in its handle.’
Naram replies to the mummy of the Dwarf king: ’The younger of those may forget, but we remember and want to prevent the shard being used to create a rift between the world and the Shadowfell.
Drek’s eyes light on Ilwyn again and he asks: ‘Have the goblins returned to their wicked ways?’
‘We are not sure,’ says Naram. ‘But the goblins enlisted us on this endeavour.’
‘In the dawn of the world it was the trust between our races that allowed us to fight the undead,’ says Drek. ‘The races united, for the fear of endless death was greater than all the old emnities.’ The mummy pauses, looking solemn: ’I see there is an elf amongst you. And, yes, even a goblin.
‘It was the goblins who betrayed me with their greed. As we fought the endless legions, until the very hills were stained red, we drove them back. Sensing my weakness as the other dwarves fell, and standing alone counting the cost of our victory, the remaining goblins took their chance. They attacked me unawares, and smashed me down. The axe was broken by my fall but not all was lost, the goblins fled with their shard, but my work was done. The attacks had stopped.’
Ilwyn speaks up. ‘Do you know of a goblin named Drek?’ he asks. ‘He sent us to search for the shard.’
‘It would surprise me not if they use my name in vain,’ replies Drek. ‘It was they who betrayed me. Seek out the pieces of the shard, if you would. It surely holds some significance in the days to come.’
At this Ilwyn bows like a dwarf.
‘So honour is not forgotten,’ smiles the mummy. ‘Take my worldy goods, then. Let them help you in your search for the shard. I must return to my rest.’
He points to the coffin and the fires fall low. Then Drek returns to his rest, becoming immobile.
The group shuffles forward to look in the coffin. Inside they find a great dwarven spear: an aura killing spear of the indomitable dwarf. There is also the iron ring of the dwarf lords. Next to this there is a pair of goggles: the Eyes of the deep dwarf. Finally there are Mithral and silver grave goods worth thousands…
Experience b/f 32730 (adjusted slightly to correct numbers) (level 12)
XP Gained : 1120
Experience c/f 33850 (level 13 at 39000)
Dwarven Treasure Golem
Deciphering the Sarcophagus
Solving the Tomb
Heart of the Golem
Epic Magic power source, worth 15,000gp
Aura Killer Spear of the Indomitable Dwarf (Uncommon)
The dwarven magic embodied in the spear shuts down your enemy’s subtle spells and instinctive powers.
Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords (Uncommon)
This solid iron ring bears the geometric patterns of the dwarf lords.
Eyes of the Deep Dwarf (Uncommon)
These heavy goggles gleam faintly with psionic energy, helping you see what lurks in the darkness.
Beautiful Dwarven grave goods
These burial items are beautifully made from mithral and silver, very rare and could be sold for 7000gp.