After gathering the effects of the fallen giants we made our way as quickly as possible back to Rengar. Rand felt very responsible that we had been harmed under his watch and insisted on carrying Jalen’s body. It took us two days to make it back to the city, and to my relief, Rand took Jalen straight to the Temple of Diakris where the priests took charge of his body. They will perform a resurrection tomorrow.
We had hardly made it back to our quarters when Onyx came to talk to us. News had spread quickly. He too was very concerned about our encounter, but I made sure to emphasize Rand’s bravery and selflessness in the battle and to dismiss any negligence that might have led to the conflict in the first place.
Onyx made it clear that there was a major upside to this event, however. We had battled and defeated a known traitor, Ferrick, and in doing so had probably saved countless Dwarven lives. He felt that this would lead us to being named ‘Dwarf Friends’ which in turn would hasten our admittance into the Great Library.
Jalen was resurrected this morning at the Temple. Although I could have performed the ritual, I was happy not to bear the cost, and the Dwarves made a great ceremony out of the event.
As Onyx predicted, we were summoned today to the Great Hall of the Dwarf King, Kildrith Giantbane. We had been given a couple of days warning, and so were able to make sure that we were dressed appropriately for such an audience. Nuan Shu and Tanka looked uncomfortable in their finery.
No one does pomp and circumstance better than the Dwarves, so it was quite a ceremony when we were called up and named ’ Dwarf Friends’. The Dwarves had always been friendly toward us, but now many of them were quite warm. It was the difference between hosting unexpected guests and welcome friends.
Later Onyx, after congratulating us for the 5th or 6th time, explained that he should be able to get us access to the Great Library within a week now. Now it was just a matter of getting some paperwork completed. Nothing in Dwarf society moves quickly it seems.
Onyx stopped by this morning to tell us that it was official now, and gave each of us a letter that would grant us access to the Great Library. It was quickly decided that Faelyn was the most suited to this sort of work, and that if we all tried to help we would just get in the way. So, while we all went together to the Library, only Faelyn and Jalen actually began the research. I wandered about on my own in awe of the amazing artifacts that were on display, careful not to cause any disruption or give cause for concern to the librarians that watched us closely.
Meanwhile, Faelyn spoke with one of the librarians who led him to a tome entitled “The Orbs of Power”. In short order, he and Jalen learned that our artifact was an ‘Orb of Dragonkind’ and contained the soul of an Ancient Gold Dragon. Its power was immense but at the cost of forcing the dragon within to perform at our command. Our discussion later that evening was lively. Jalen initially insisted that it would be foolish not to use this power. Faelyn pointed out that to do so was to earn the enmity of Gold Dragons everywhere. Eventually everyone was in agreement that we needed to find a way to release the imprisoned soul within the orb.
Faelyn and Jalen returned to the Great Library to research how to destroy our artifact. It seems a shame to destroy such a powerful artifact, but it’s use would be evil and unacceptable, so there doesn’t seem to be an alternative.
Our intrepid researchers are getting frustrated. Existing artifacts are apparently well documented, but ways of destroying them are not. Work continues on that front. Meanwhile, the rest of us are enjoying our new status. We are free to roam, although Rand is still offering his services as a guide. I’ve been able to see many amazing places that had been forbidden previously. Apparently the Kingdom extends to interconnected tunnels across most of Grinadier. We didn’t travel far from the city, however.
Faelyn finally finished his research, but soon realized that this has simply led him to another avenue of exploration. Apparently the orb can only be destroyed by the breath of a blood relative of the dragon within. The dragon, he believes, is named Imbrix. He was captured and killed many thousands of years ago and through some lost dark art, his soul was then bound up in our orb. Imbrix was either the King of Gold Dragons at the time or closely related to the king. However, finding a blood relative now may be impossible. During the 2nd War of the Heavens, good dragons were systematically hunted down and killed. The king at that time, Jorell, was known to have perished in the pogrom. Faelyn would do some digging, but it was possible that Imbrix’ line had been erased.
Faelyn and Jalen have finally given up finding any useful information in the Great Library. The information there is simply too old to be useful for our current search. However, the librarians suggested that they continue their research in another library that contains more recent history.
Additionally, we heard some rumors today. King Jarrod has apparently been raised by Durian, but only after many others had failed. This is disturbing. Either a soul can be raised to life again or it can not. I suspect that Durian is some kind of powerful Necromancer who found a way to compel Jarrod’s soul back, or else he learned how he was being blocked and removed that obstacle. Troubling either way.
Our researchers finally dug up something promising. Around 10 years ago a young Gold Dragon named Gornax, who is believed to be a relative of Jorell, traveled to a village to the North and East of Ortfort to protect it from a group of ogres who had been attacking. Nothing more had been heard of him afterwards.
Although this was a promising lead, it was also 10 years old. Gornax could be practically anywhere in the world by now, or even dead. However, it didn’t look like we were going to find a better lead, so we decided that I would consult Diakris about the situation before committing to a long journey.
This morning I prayed and learned that Gornax is alive and near the same village from all those years ago, but needs our help. My assumption is that the ogres somehow managed to capture the dragon and imprison him. We’ll need to be careful. Even a young dragon should have had no problem confronting a group of ogres. Obviously they have some power beyond what is normal for their kind.
After saying our goodbyes and gathering supplies, Faelyn teleported our party to the last known location of Gornax, North and East of Ortfort.
We found the remains of the village pretty quickly. It had been burned down, and not recently. Tanka estimated that it had been years since anyone had been here. Jalen began to do some scouting, hoping to find some evidence of either the dragon or the ogres, but it was Elanor, Faelyn’s Raven, who spotted the cave a few miles away. A pair of ogres guarded the entrance.
We traveled to within eyesight of the cave and saw no evidence of activity beyond the two inattentive guards. We discussed a frontal assault, but decided that we might be running into a trap. Clearly they were powerful if they could capture a dragon. So instead we decided to spring our own trap.
We traveled back to the village and started a large, smokey fire with the hopes of drawing them to us. Sure enough, just before Dusk a group of Ogres left the cave and traveled to investigate our fire. Our ambush worked quite well. I don’t think that any of them even managed to get close enough to attack us. It was so one-sided in fact, that I had a nagging feeling that I had wasted the spells I had used in defeating them.
We hid the bodies and waited for the next group that would come to investigate why their scouts hadn’t returned. I assume it will be stronger than the first group, though Ogres are stupid and might not think of that.
We waited all day for the response team, but it never came. Elanor patiently waited on a branch within sight of the entrance to the cave, but the only movement was for an occassional change of guards. By nightfall we were getting restless.
This morning Elanor reported that there was still no activity at the cave and we decided that we couldn’t keep waiting. We traveled as quietly as our heavily armored party could to within about 80 feet of the cave entrance.
One of the guards was clearly sleeping, the other didn’t seem to be paying any attention. In an effort to prevent an alarm from being raised, I blanketed the area in silence as our warriors rushed in. Between Tanka, Nuan Shu and Hawthorne, the two ogres were dead before they knew that they were in danger.
After a few moments we were convinced that no alarm had been raised, so we sent Jalen in to do some scouting. After a few minutes he returned and drew out the first few corridors. He had also found a large cave with half a dozen ogres in it.
Once again we proceeded as quietly as possible and found a group around a large table playing a card game. They were all dead a few moments later. So it continued from room to room. The only trouble we experienced was from one who appeared to be an officer of some kind. At least, he had nicer quarters and magical armor. Most troubling though was the almost complete lack of money. I didn’t expect them to be rich, but years of raiding caravans and attacking villages should have left them with gold and other treasures, yet we found virtually nothing of value among their corpses. We’re unsure what this portends, but I fear that a dragon may be involved. Hopefully they didn’t suborn Gornax.
When Jalen scouted down the last unexplored passage he found what looked like a guard room. Four large ogres who appeared to be alert stood, weapons ready, while a passage opened on the far side of the room. This is likely where the leader is, so these are probably his best warriors.
However, when we surprised them, they went down almost as easy as the rest. I don’t believe that this will be as easy as it seems. Somewhere soon we are sure to have a real fight on our hands.