Returning to Overlook revealed a city preparing for war. A few questions here and there revealed that the city was boosting for war a s aprecaution, and that here was no currently credible threat to the city.
In addition, Orsik visited the Stone Anvil – the main temple to Moradini in the city – and found the place manned by a skeleton crew of clergy and falling into a state of disuse (upkeep chores not done, etc.). When asked, the priestess overseeing services confessd that High Ancestor Durkik had ordered that the long-abandoned temple to Moradin in the Divine Knot (the slum quarter of the city) was to be renovated at the same time as the city defenses were beefed up. There were many who questioned the move, but the High Ancestor’s orders were carried out.
Further investigation within the city by Orsik and the rest of the crew revealed that something was wrong in the city, something was not quite . . .proper. Visiting the construction site in the Divine Knot revealed that there had grown some animosity toward Orsik and the Wayfarers. The dwarves set to guard the construction site did not hide their opinions of your paladin friend, with accusations that Orsik’s place was within Overlook, not galavanting around with nondwarves. Just before the situation came to blows, Ancestor Kerros, the second-highest-ranking dwarven priest in the city arrived to escort the heroes of Overlook through the site.
Kerros confessed that Durkik had not been acting himself for some time, and that he too questioned the preparations for war and the reconstruction of the shrine in the Knot. He confessed to Orsik that he could not act against his superior at this time, and that he must be kept out of any investigations. Orsik noted that he agreed and that he would get to the bottom of things.
Meanwhile, Arannis had put out feelers to try and get in touch with Thorn, the half-elf bounty hunter who attacked you outside the githyanki temple. He intended to ask him about this General Zithruun. This brought him into contact with a mysterious goblin, sitting comfortably in the seediest bar in town. Of particular note was the mug of pale green glop steaming away in front of him (more on that later). The Goblin claimed that he knew of Thorn and might be able to get a message to him. Arannis gave him a day to dig up some info and promised to return, seeking answers.
The next day, Arannis returned to the bar to find the goblin perched in exactly the same chair, exactly the same position, with exactly the same mug of glop in front of him, steaming away. The Goblin claimed that he had sent messengers to find Thorn, but that he had information about Zithruun. He claimed that Zithruun was a disgraced githyanki general, tossed from the strange race’s heirarchy due to his fiery temper and seeming instability. Despite his shortcomings, Zithruun has the reputation as a canny and ferocious foe, who won many wars for the githyanki people.
At this poin, Arannis’ curiosity got the better of him. He asked about the mug of glop. He was told that it was an old goblin drink, very good for you, very healthy. “It’s goat-based” said the little goblin, at which Arannis could only reply “huh.” Despite thousands of years of Eladrin instinct screaming at him, Arannis asked to taste it, and another mug was instantly produced. Arannis drank the stuff, and immediately went on an acid that would most likely be felt by his children some day.
Orsik decided to seek out Durkik, to confront him with concerns about his plans for the city. They asked around and finally got the name of Dergan’s XXX brewery, a dwarfy establishment Durkik was known to frequent. They headed there, and sure enough found the High Ancestor sitting at a table in the back of the room, shrouded in a cloak, clearly trying to hide his presence there.
Into the bar came a rather weaselly-looking human (not unheard of but definitely unusual), who went directly to Durkik’s table and sat down. The two began a hushed by energetic conversation.
Shortly thereafter, another human entered the bar and set about totally not following the previous human. Kha (disguised as a dwarf) recognized this person as Veles, a friend of his from wizarding school who had been asked not to return after only one semester.
After a few moments, Durkik silenced the human with a gesture and harsh words, and the human rose, and headed out the door. Durkik rose to leave as well, and Orsik confronted him.
Durkik was surprised to see Orsik, and seemed a bit flustered. He claimed he had business to attend to and asked Orsik to meet him the next morning at the Stone Anvil. With nothing to go on, Orsik reluctantly agreed and let Durkik by.
Meanwhile, Veles had left the bar to follow the human. Kha the followed Veles to see what his mischievous friend was up to. The two schoolmates finally met up outside the shrine to Erathis in the city proper, where the human from the bar had travelled to.
It turns out Veles had been following the human, suspecting that he was involved in the disappearance of the previous priest overseeing this shrine. He had been asked to do this by Lavinya, the priestess who takes care of the run-down shrine in the Divine Knot.
Kha, sensing that the two friends may be seeking the same thing, brough Veles back to the Wayfarers for introductions and intel sharing.
The next morning, Orsik found himself stood up by Durkik at the Stone Anvil. Convinced that something was amiss, the Wayfarers confronted Grovald, the human who had met with Durkik the night before.
Grovald evaded questions at first, but when he felt his position was hopeless, he attempted to flee. He was stopped very quickly, however, and taken into custody by the Wayfarers
With only mildly implied threats to his body, the man freely admitted that he killed the previous caretaker of the Erathis Shrine, and that he was taking orders directly from Durkik. He claimed to have been hired as a mercenary by General Zithruun to help Durkik in Overlook, and thet Durkik gave the order to kill the caretaker for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. Finally, Grovald admitted that a warehouse in the Blister (forgeworks) district was where he would get his orders from Durkik. The plan was hatched to visit said warehouse in the wee hours of the next morning.
At the warehouse, Mako and Veles attempted to spy into the place through skylights to get the lay of the land. They found several thug-guards one duty, and most shocking, captain Aerun of the city watch. They had to cut their recon short, though, as a few failed stealth checks led to unwanted attention.
The plan was simple. Kha would disguise himself as Grovald, and claim to be awaiting orders from Durkik. Once the guards were distracted, the others would strike. The plan went perfectly, to the point that Aerun believed “Grovald, and allowed him in and was about to close the door behind him. The party struck, and a large battle ensued. Aerun reacted by flyingto the catwalk 20 feet up, much to the amazement of the Wayfarers. In the battle, Arannis confronted Aerun and struck him down with nonlethal blows, intending him for questioning. Howeve,r when the final knock-out blow was dealt, Aerun dropped to the ground dead.
After the fight, investigation revealed that Aerun’s body had been dead for some time – less than a month, but more than 3-4 days. Kha’s arcane training had once spoken of magics that allowed one creature to inhabit or possess another’s body at the expense of the other’s life, which could account for the strange occurances. In addition, Veles had discovered that the warehouse had not done any real business for some weeks. A search of the warehouse revealed an unusual trapdoor hiden in the back of the room. Debate was held as to what to do with the bodies, when somebody began pounding on the main door of the warehouse.
Quickly, Kha took the shape of Aerun and threw on the guard captain’s cloak to answer the door. The rest of the wayfarers got into ambush position. Kha opened the door to reveal a priestess of Avondra and a group of guards; they had come to relieve the current watch group. Kha stalled as best he could, and then unleashed Burning Hands on the tightly packed group. Most of the guards fell, but the Priestessand one particularly nasty guard fought on. However, in the end, the Wayfarers persevered. The priestess was exmained and determined to be another of the strange possessed individuals. Also among the dead were doppelgangers, disguised as common thugs.
With this second wave of enemies defeated, the party decided to investigate the warehouse further and head down the trapdoor. Th estrange locking mechanism was no match for Veles’ skill,and a shaft of hastily hewn stone led down to a 30’ square room.
Atached to the room were a dozen cells, nine of which were filled. Most of the occupants were youngish, royal-looking people, but one contained a very bruised and battered High Ancestor Durkik, who proclaimed “Thank Moradin you’ve come!”
A nasty trap was in evidence in Dirkik’s filthy cell, three tubes pointed at his chest ready to unleash metal spikes if his door was opened. Once again, Veles’ nimble fingers made quick work of the trap,and Durkik was freed.
The other occupants, as it turns out, were all sons and daughters of noble families in nearby neighboring countries and cities. Each of them seemed to be tied to a particular industry; one was the some of an iron mining conglomerate in a place called Diamond Lake, another was the daughter of a shipbuilder in the northern reaches, while another was the son of a bargeman who controlled the grain trade up and down the nearby major river. Veles intimated that the reason he was here was that he had evaded an attempt to kidnap him, and discoverd that he was to be brought here, to Overlook. He guessed that, as he was the son of a large caravan magnate, he was desitened for one of these cells as well.
Durkik spoke of his ordeal, claiming that a creature called General Zithruun had tortured him mercilessly. Zithruun had demanded to know and something called the Mountainroot Temple, and ancient temple built to honor Moradin. It had been abandonned for centuries following an earthquake that was seen as a sign of Moradin;s displeasure with the infighting and pride that was tarnishing his worship. Only a select few knew of its place and its purpose.
It’s purpose was to be an inter-dimensional place of worship to Moradin, so that all who hailed the Mighty Forger from anywhere in the multiverse could go there to pay homage. The place has several magical planar portals, and one portal that connects to the Stone Anvil itself.
Durkik has asked you to pursue Zithruun into the Mountainroot temple, and stop whatever evil he is up to. In addition, he asked Orsik to retrieve an artifact of dwarven legend from the temple, the Incunabulm Primeval. With the coming storm, Durkik feels its place should be here, to bolster the faithful of Moradin.
Durkik says he can take you to the portal to the temple, but he cannot accompany you – it is forbidden by his oath.