The Fellowship had traveled to Solemn Lake, a town on the edge of Stout Narrows in the southeast corner of the Caskbound Pocket. Across the Narrows lies territory of Clan Stonebridge, trading partners of Clan Caskbound.
The town is called Solemn Lake because the water in the Narrows tastes normal, but hits a person’s system as though it was vodka. If you don’t boil the magically polluted water you’ll bounce back and forth between euphoric and hung over. It is a great party town, but most of the time the place gives the impression of being hung over.
- Devron Leveler. Berserker, Chosen, Mason.
- Korvask Wryt. Vanguard, Enchanter, Scholar.
- Revelle Lateminder. Mauler, Delver, Jeweler.
They were in town for a festival, and as they were taking in the sites they saw a badly injured dwarf staggering down the street. They rushed up to him, he collapsed, and they took him into the tavern. His insignia was of Clan Caskbound, he had once-fine clothes ripped to tatters by briars and blades, and he had the hands of a delver. Intrigued by the mystery, they got him conscious, and he privately admitted he was Sardell, the huntsman for the subarchon Kell Glyte of Clan Stonebridge (a subarchon is like a prince.)
The subarchon and huntsman had taken a fine pack of hunting stag beetles out to get a salamander; sometimes the fiery amphibians worm up from the deeps and cause trouble. Hunting them is utilitarian and sport. (Hunters use mastiff-sized stag beetles for the hunt, as their chitin does not melt; these prized creatures have their iridescent chitin polished to a high shine.) During the hunt, they were ambushed, and Glyte didn’t get a good look at his foes but he was lucky to make it back to town.
Leveler used the litanies of the Gods of Ur to help him rest, then they sought out the Head Alderman, Ferrig, a somewhat notorious alchemist. They figured he should know about the lost subarchon. He agreed, and decided to look after the huntsman while the Fellowship went looking for the subarchon; should not start a panic over a missing person if it could be quietly sorted. Off they went.
HUNTING IN THE NARROWS
As they were moving over the polished iridescent stone of the narrows, a salamander rushed up from a fissure and attacked! Leveler wounded it grievously, his weapons melting on its hide. Wryt exploited a crack in the stone to break off the shelf where they fought, and the salamander slid back down into the fissure as Lateminder snatched Leveler to safety. After that clash, Wryt used his bloodbrush and enchanted two weapons to be safe from the heat of their blood.
They continued on and found a foraging expedition of fungaloids. Lateminder cautiously approached and let them spray her with telepathic spores. She found out they were looking for choice ingredients to add to their melding beds, and they wanted dwarven “crackers” because that added something to the experience. She shared, and they told her that a Deep Worm had been compelled to surface nearby; that might be relevant.
The Fellowship went looking for the Deep Worm surfacing site, but got lost and instead found a withered old dwarven woman named Mother Service. She offered them chemical weapons (as she was an accomplished alchemist) in exchange for Ledger she could use to trade with the local clans (who didn’t want to trade with her for some reason.) They camped nearby for a few hours, then headed out with the directions she gave them.
Soon they found the breach where the Deep Worm had been compelled to surface, disgorge passengers, and retreat. They followed the tracks (in internal worm slime) until they got to the bogs of the Narrows, where the occasional print of the warband was enough to keep them on the right track.
They found the ambush site, and a little further on a hunting stag beetle, grimed up and hesitant. Lateminder befriended it by feeding it a dead rat and talking to it soothingly, and it happily accompanied them on to find its master. (Its name was Mister Stab.)
They discovered a rearguard, mostly submerged in a pool on the warband’s backtrail. They attacked and defeated them, noting they were trollkin with some regeneration and loads of violent muscle. Even more cautious, they continued along the path.
A local landmark by the Narrows is “the Lighthouse.” It looks like a house of some kind, built far up on the cavern wall, and suffused through with powerfully bright luminescent fungus. It is like the North Star when navigating the Pocket, visible from all around. And the tracks led towards the Lighthouse.
Finding the hidden stair carved into the rock, they saw it had a human enchantment mark as well as the stonework being signed by Clan Stonebridge, centuries ago. Wryt used his bloodbrush and put a rune of invisibility on Lateminder, who explored up the staircase and found two more trollkin guards. After reporting her find, she slipped past them, and the other two dwarves approached up the stairs. One trollkin jumped up to cling to the wall and drop in ambush, the other pretended to be a boulder; the dwarves sorted them out fast, and kept moving (even though blood spatter ruined the invisibility rune.)
Wryt made two more invisibility runes, one for Lateminder and one for her to take along, on a headband. She slipped past more guards, into the wonderland of the Lighthouse (after climbing hundreds and hundreds of stairs.) She reached where the subarchon was held prisoner, and the trollkin were rapt at the horrific poetry recital of their bloated leader.
Her psyche grimly enduring the poetry, Lateminder slipped into the group (pinned to a pillar once by a leaning trollkin, and slipping loose after jabbing him while making a cave centipede noise so he moved.) She slipped the invisibility rune on the subarchon, and together they made their escape, slipping out of the trollkin perimeter and racing down to join the other dwarves.
The subarchon told them he fooled the trollkin into thinking him a lowly hunter. They questioned him about what was in the area; over thirty strong, the warband is looking to set up a power base near or in the Caskbound Pocket. But that is a problem for another day! He was desperate to get back to safety.
The successful Fellowship was feasted in the Happy Hut, the subarchon brought in a troubadour to sing songs of their clan, and he gifted Mister Stab to Lateminder for her heroics in rescuing him.