Leaving the city, the party seeks the advice of an old hermit in finding the way to their lost cousin.
Marching out of Cauldron, Freya and Xogar begin debating the merits of his religion, that of a rebellious god of drink and revelry.
“Drinkin, singin, and enjoying yerself” Xogar appealed. “All good things.”
“I believe in all those things, so why not worship me?” She didn’t seem to be joking, and waited for an answer. The dwarf’s mouth hung open stunned at the question. In all the time since he left Mithral Hall, he hadn’t met someone so blatantly blasphemous. Quickly he changed the subject.
“…er, this is my first time in the Underdark” he admits, obviously filled with shame. How could a dwarf from not just Mithral Hall but a prestigious family like the Battlehammer Clan, have never ventured into the Underdark? Torgar began warning his brother about the dangers of the Underdark, to which Xogar brazenly called him “scared.” The older, more experienced brother sighed.
Drogar interjected out of the blue with his usual pearls of wisdom, “We wrecked that umberhulk worse than yer mother! …oh that doesn’t work, we’re brothers gahaha!”
Torgar joined the conversation. “Yer bringin’ yer slave, Freya? Gonna be dangerous.”
“Yes,” she replied simply. Why wouldn’t she? She needed to be waited on hand and foot wherever she went.
“Not yours or mine.” She winked at the dwarf.
Before long, they arrive at the location marked on their map. Another couple hours of searching, and the find Crazy Jared’s hut. And not a moment too soon, for over the horizon, flew a great red dragon.
It bears down on the small thatch hut, surrounded by a low wall with fabric and wood painted to mimic a castle wall. Here and there straw stuffing pokes out of gaps in the makeshift “towers”.
The dragon soars up high, then dives strait at the ground firing a blast of fiery breath. Some of the flames whip back over the dragon harmlessly, but the bulk of the breath blast directly into the ground and spreads out into a massive blast radius. One of the corner “towers” explodes with the force, and nearby “walls” catch fire. The dragons swerves clumsily and redirects itself upwards, circling around for another run.
The man ran at the the band of heroes. With a wave of his wand, the old man’s tattered robes changed into the finest king’s garb, flowing robes speckled with jewels and lined with furs. “Onward, my knights of Anduria!” He commanded. With no one else around, it was clear he was speaking to the dwarves. The party opened fire with their arrows and bolts as the dragon fire a second blast, the flames narrowly missing but still burning some of the more forward combatants.
Unsure of what to do first, Xogar begins applying as many defensive spells onto himself as possible. Most of the party stood around ineffectively, either in awe or in fear of the dragon soaring overhead. You’ve heard many legends among dwarves, and twice as many tales of the shadow dragon Haerinvureem, or as he is more commonly known among the dwarven folk, Shimmergloom. This red dragon pales in comparison, but still has a fearsome presence none the less. Another blast of the dragon’s breath erupts centered between everybody, hitting them all.
As Torgar sprays flurry after flurry of damaging arrows at the dragon, Xogar begins running in circles panicking. Conjuring up enough concentration for a spell, he begins casting.
“Uh, uh…” he points at Torgar… “I cast at you!”
The rest of the dwarves scramble as Torgar continues firing. Badly hurt by his arrows, the dragon changes course and heads for the dwarf. As he’s flying in, Drogar fires a random bolt, striking a vital spot and the soaring dragon comes crashing down to the ground.
An elated Jared approaches the victorious “knights”. Drogar immediately begins hacking at the dead dragons neck. “Behold, the wonderful kingdom of Anduria!” Jared professes. He waves another wand and the landscape changes from flaming straw hut in a field to a flaming hut in a magnificent landscape of rolling hills, lush forests overflowing with fauna. He introduces himself as King Jared IV, ruler of Anduria (a nonexistent realm). With Freya indulging the old fool in his fantasy, they are quick to get the information they need.
“Someone wanna help me with this trophy?” Drogar asks, covered in dragon blood.
“Why, are you not a male?” Freya insults him.
Soon they decide to set off for the ominously named Pit of Eight Jaws, allegedly the nearest entrance to the Underdark below.
Traveling through the hills outside of Cauldron, they stumble across an ogre scouting party. Freya begins playing a melody on her violin, marching slowly and sternly toward the oncoming ogres. All around her the dwarves swarm, charging forward to meet the ogres in melee. Similarly they dart around the ogres, hacking and screaming, all the while sending ogre blood flowing freely. Still playing, Freya ends her walk standing in a pile of ogre corpses left by the blood and beer drunk dwarves. She marvels at the dwarven handiwork: “These dwarves are fine murdering machines, slaughtering everything in their path…”
The Pit of Eight Jaws is little more than an hole in the ground in a field, and they decide to set up camp before setting off into the Underdark below. Loudly and drunkenly they march down a narrow and noisy, rickety set of steel stairs ringing the pit.
As soon as they reach the bottom of the pit, they meet it’s namesake. An eight-headed cryohydra bursts forth, blasting the unwary dwarves with it’s icy breath. Unflinching, they stand toe to toe with it. “Bahahaha! It looks like one ‘a Mogar’s ex girlfriends!” Drogar jests. Appprently Mogar has a habit for donning the beer goggles. As if they do this regularly, the dwarves made short work of the hydra. Slashing with their axes, they cleave great chunks from the creatures body, it’s flailing heads no match even with two to one odds.
Behind the hydra, a fissure barely large enough for a man leads into the dark, the tight tunnel slow and winding and the path nearly vertical at some points. In one area, it breaks into a cave where an Ettin, a large two headed giant creature, prepares a meal of carrion. Catching it off guard, the band rained arrows on the creature before charging forward with their axes. A drunken Torgar let his drink get the best of him, and put a couple stray arrows in the asses of his brothers. Drogar cries out after being hit by one. Turning around, he realizes it was friendly fire.
“No worries, brother. A few beers and I won’t even feel it!”
Pressing on, they reach a great cavern, an indoor lake, easily hundreds of feet across. A Kua-toan ferryman waves them aboard, and they disembark for Bhal-Hamatugn.