The Heroes of Red Larch were victorious, but they were not done. After the destruction of the mechanical monstrosity that was the spawn of the dwarves the company started to explore other passages in the maze like mines beneath the Sacred Stone Monastery. They hoped to find more treasure and possibly a way through the magical barriers they had encountered at two of the keeps they had assaulted.
After a lot of twists and turns the sounds of digging could be heard in the distance, some way to the east. Strath saw it upon himself and encourage the party to head east as he was concerned over the sounds and what it may lead to. Eldearnth agreed to this in principle and he and his brother Ranor Haedrin stealthily moved ahead. It wasn’t long before they stumbled upon a troop of ogres who were whipping and cajoling slaves as they toiled in the tunnel.
At the sight of this Strath immediately took charge (again) and declared the slaves should be freed. He also offered the possibility that a member of the Miribar delegation was down here. This raised the interest levels of the rest of the party and a plan was hatched.
Strath was to be the bate as he started to create a minor tremor in the mine. As he did so the ogres were supposed to find the source of this quake. In the mean time Zoro would lay traps down to impede the ogres. All the while both Ranor and Eldearnth hid and lay in wait for the ogres to run by and attack them from the rear. Garrett and Zoro stood near Strath but out of sight of the ogres.
This seemed like a great plan until when the quake started the ogres immediately ran away from the cleric and started ushering the slaves into their pens. In response to this Strath bellowed at the ogres, four of whom started running towards the bait that was the cleric at tremendous speed.
As they did so 2 of the oafs became trapped by the well placed hazards the party had dropped earlier. The other two hurtled onto the cleric, with one waylaid by the ‘Brothers Grim’.
A violent melee ensued which did at one point have Ranor punch himself in the face to the point where he was unconscious for a moment. Despite this the ogres were pacified with one running off through the guard room to the north, 2 slain and one cowed into submission by Eldearnth.
Captured and helpless the ogre agreed to help the party so long as they let him live. The ogre’s name was Drong, but Eldearnth had elected to call him ‘Tim’ instead. After much cajoling ‘Tim’ explained to the party that a dwarf named ‘Brul’ was in a place called The Pit. The mere mention of this place sent ‘Tim’ into a catatonic state as he feared it so much.
Tim/Drong also explained that there was a pass phrase to the magical barrier into the temple. Apparently it had the word ‘Hail’ in it, but he knew little else beyond that. ‘Tim’ explained that Jurth, his commander, had fled into the Temple that lies below the monastery and the mine.
The heroes were undeterred by this turn of events they marched to where the slaves were kept and freed them. One of them, an elf named Thane told them of what happened to Bruldenthar, the dwarf from the Miribar delegation. He was in the pit and the only way to get to him was to use the device held by the commander of the ogres who goes by the name of ‘Jurth’.
Thane also told the party of another piece of the pass phrase; it had something to do with royalty but more he could not remember.
With Jurth gone the party had to think of another way into the Pit. Strath decided to volunteer himself to enter the pit and a rope was tied to him as he moved through the pit. Within seconds he was swatted by tentacles that attacked him from all sides. His wounds were slashed by tendrils that emitted necrotic substances. He tried to summon aid from his chosen deity but his concentration was halted and he turned and fled.
The Heroes of Red Larch were not often stymied but on this occasion they were. Eventually Zoro blasted the walls of the pit with lightning bolts that he could emit, but they did little damage to the fungal creatures that lined the walls and lashed out. Garrett also attempted to set fire to them but was too close and a tendril hit him and sent him into a slumber. Strath exercised all of the healing arts he could muster to save the hapless sorcerer. This was a debt that will not lightly forgotten.
In a rage of frustration Zoro doused the walls with oil and set it alight, with Garrett fanning the smoke westward out of the corridor into other parts of the mine. As the walls burned coughing could be heard at the other end of the pit. Strath immediately ran in and rescued Bruldenthar.
After he was rested and healed Bruldenthar spoke to the party about the fate of the rest of the delegation. Deseyna Norvael was taken by the Cult of Howling Wind while Bruldenthar and two others, Rhundorth and Teresiel were taken by the Black Earth Cult. Bruldenthar was kept in the mine to toil there while the other two were sent to the Temple below.
The Heroes of Red Larch decided to follow the ogres who had fled through a passage north of the guard room. This passage led to an exit north of the monastery that passed under the crypt, the same place Renwick had warned the party against entering. Strath became alarmed at the presence of the being that was close by and refused to enter the passage. This forced the party to go the long way round back to the monastery.
More searches revealed a distillery where whiskey was made by monks. It was not very pleasant so the party took some but for fuel and not for ‘medicinal purposes’. Renwick was quizzed over the pass phrase to the Temple by Zoro only to be dismissed as being ‘cult business’ that he had little interest in.
Bruldenthar requested passage back to Miribar by way of Beliard and the company agreed to get him there as soon as possible. Eldearnth was pleased that the party would return to that place as he had some unfinished business there…