Much time had passed and Templeton Daltrey’s renovations of Feathergale Spire were complete. The tower was really feeling like home now. It was just in time for some visitors. A company of dwarves came calling and the guards admitted them to the keep. The dwarves were fed and many stories were told. They finally revealed that they were sent by King Bruenor Battlehammer to bring the party before him.
In order to travel the great distance, Kareep of Goldenfields flew North carrying Puck in his leather harness. The journey took many days but was much faster than walking or riding horses. Along the way the two were attacked by demons and barely arrived at a location not far from the great gates of the dwarven kingdom. Once there, Puck created a teleportation circle in a small copse of trees. Puck then teleported Kareep and himself back to Feathergale Spire. The party and all of the dwarves then gathered up and teleported from The Spire to the newly established teleportation circle in the copse of trees just outside of the entrance to Gauntlgrym.
From there the party and the dwarves entered the huge fortress of King Bruenor Battlehammer – Gauntlgrym. It was a massive city totally underground and behind strong gates. The party met with not only Bruenor but also with some other dignitaries from other nearby realms. Templeton Daltrey told the story of their adventures and of the rise and fall of the elemental cults. Bruenor in turn explained how some trouble was brewing in the Underdark. He wanted to enlist the party to help him get to the bottom of what was going on and help deal with the problem.
King Bruenor Battlehammer told this tale:
I now have a tale to share as well. A few weeks ago, a young dwarf scout from Gauntlgrym, Eldeth Feldrun, returned home after having been thought lost, perhaps forever, by her family. Her tale is harrowing… and disturbing. During a routine exploration of the outer reaches of Gauntlgrym’s realm, she was attacked and captured by a drow raiding party. Eldeth was a prisoner for weeks in the Underdark, part of a long march to the drow outpost, Velkynvelve.
It was there that she and some of the other prisoners were able to mount an escape. Escaping from drow capture is no small feat. It was only made possible when a rare and strange event occurred. With no seeming warning, a battle between factions of demons erupted upon the outpost. At first, as Eldeth tells it, the demons did not seem to notice the guards and prisoners, they simply fought a terrible battle between themselves. However, the drow guards, fearing incursion, engaged the battle. Whether they were the target or not, a few drow and not a few prisoners were killed during the demons’ struggle. It was this battle and the ensuing chaos that provided cover for the escape.
Velkynvelve is hundreds of miles through the Underdark from Gauntlgrym. The journey that Eldeth details after her escape is a web of luck, fortitude, and… growing madness. Eldeth did return in body, but our healers have had to work with her unceasingly to mend her mind. Even in the best of times, the Underdark can be bizarre, alien and inhospitable, but Eldeth seems to have experienced… something else. She has difficulty separating dreams from memories, nightmares from dark reality. The beginning of her tale, the one of her initial escape is the clearest for her. After that, well, we still don’t have the complete picture. The one common thread is demons.
Her tales, with some seeming born of paranoia and delirium more than truth, are laced with demented, corrupted creatures, sightings of half-demon half-giant hybrids, Kuo-toa priests offering sacrifices to Demogorgon instead of their own gods, enormous demon-tainted fungi…
Perhaps I would normally discount such tales as simple madness of a weak-souled dwarf under drow capture. Yet there are whisperings from others who have been to the Underdark in recent months… and the tales are similarly disturbing, if inconsistent.
Demons were apparently running wild and battling with drow and others threatening to unbalance the Underdark and cause the fighting to spill out into Bruenor’s realm and possibly beyond. Bruenor believes the answers to the unrest can be found in the ancient underdark library of Gravenhollow. A map to the library can be acquired from Ghazrim DuLoc, a Zhentarim agent living in the Underdark City of Mantol-Derith. The party agreed to travel to Mantol-Deirth, get the map from Ghazrim and travel to Gravenhollow.
Templeton made some interesting contacts during the dinners and meetings in Gauntlgrym. In particular he met a Zhentarim agent named Davra Jassur who was familiar with the journey to the Underdark city of Mantol-Derith. She had made the journey many times. Templeton convinced Davra to join their party and act as an Underdark Guide. She had one condition, however. She was transporting a Zhentarim prisoner – The Crow. The party is not to speak or interact with the prisoner in any way. Templeton also found out through other contacts that The Crow is actually a harper agent who has been placed to gain intel on unrelated Zhent operations.
Puck teleported everyone from Gauntlgrym back to Feathergale Spire where Templeton ordered his servants to throw them a feast and help prepare for the journey. Templeton’s hospitality to Davra Jassur seemed to extend well beyond the feast. As it seemed Davra wound up spending the night in his room. The pair engaged in some very energetic and loud lovemaking that left no secret as to their activity.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast the party set out. They journeyed North of Feathergale Spire to a cave entrance where they began to descend into the Underdark. It quickly got too dark to see without darkvision. As a gnome, Puck inherently could see with darkvision. Templeton donned his enchanted goggles of night which allowed him to see in the dark. Puck then cast darkvision on Brenn and Quintus, while Kareep cast darkvision on himself. Now able to see quite well up to 60 feet, the party continued to descend down and down into the Underdark
At one point in the journey the main cavern had a large cave in blocking the preferred path of Davra Jassur. Quintus tried to use his Claws of the Umberhulk to burrow through the cave in but found the debris too sandy – it was caving in around him. So Davra led the group around through a side passage. She said that there are always other routes to take when one is impassable.
Eventually the party came to a huge cavern filled with sticky webs. The webs went as far as the eye could see up, down, and across. While evaluating how to proceed, Templeton Daltrey noticed a pair of humanoid figures up in the webs. Templeton called out to them in the Undercommon language and convinced them to come down and parlay. It turned out that the two were goblins and their names were Yuk Yuk and Spiderbait. Templeton learned that the vast web filled cavern before them was known as The Silken Paths. Templeton persuaded Yuk Yuk and Spiderbait to guide the party through the webs to the tunnels far away on the other side. Templeton haggled the goblins price down to 10 GP. They then shared their pots of stinky grease that were used to keep one’s hands and feet from sticking to the webs. It took a while for the party to get the hang of traveling along the strands of silky webbing, but they eventually caught on and followed their guides.
At one point Kareep of Goldenfields stepped on a sack of spider eggs causing thousands of little spiders to boil out and envelop his body. Kareep struggled to keep his calm and smush them without hurting himself. Puck lent his aid unleashing a thunderwave spell and artfully carving it around Kareep. All of the spiders were turned into a nasty goo. Templeton shook his head and used his prestidigitation spell to clean up the unsightly mess.